Letter: Energy tax under discussion

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The Independent Online
Energy tax

under discussion

Sir: Your otherwise excellent report (20 May) on the European Union's certain failure to meet the greenhouse gas emission targets for 2000, which it set itself in Rio, makes the assertion that the European Commission proposal for a CO2 energy tax has been stalemated "largely because of fierce opposition from Britain".

As parliamentary rapporteur on the CO2 tax, I can assure you that the revised Commission proposal for a flexible and optional CO2/energy tax is alive and still under discussion. This directive echoes the approach being taken on a single currency.

Within an agreed structure designed to protect the integrity of the Single Market, those member states who wish could proceed with a CO2/energy tax, with other states joining as they become convinced of the utility of such a tax.

The villain in the story of the attempted stalemate of the CO2/energy tax is not the British government, but the concerted, well-financed international campaign mounted by the fossil fuel industries, led by the oil industry. When in 2010, the world's public wants to know why the political system has been so slow in putting in place measures to inhibit climate disruption, their attention will rightly focus on the role of the oil companies.

TOM SPENCER, MEP

(Surrey, Con)

Churt, Surrey

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