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Villafuerte eyes carbon tax vs polluters

A NEOPHYTE lawmaker is calling on the Duterte administration to seriously consider the implementation in the near future of a carbon tax on manmade carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions now that the world’s economies have agreed on a timeline.

This timeline is for the gradual phaseout of greenhouse gases to mitigate the escalating effects of climate change.

Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte said imposing a carbon tax on man-made polluters should be considered by the Duterte administration under its multi-year comprehensive tax program, the first package of which was already endorsed to the Senate and the House of Representatives last month.

“A carbon tax would not only help us comply with our international commitments to help curb global warming; we can also use the proceeds from the tax to develop clean energy production processes for our industries and fund other environment-friendly initiatives,” said Villafuerte, vice chairman of the House committee on appropriations.

Villafuerte made the statement following a landmark agreement in Rwanda’s capital of Kigali on a timetable to phase out hydroflourocarbons (HFCs), a type of hydrocarbon used in refrigerators and airconditioners, considered a major step in curbing global warming.

Under the agreement, Villafuerte said the use and manufacture of HFCs will be made to decline in three phases: Industrialized economies will begin by 2019, China, Brazil and Africa by 2024; and India, Pakistan and many others by 2028.

Villafuerte is currently working on a proposed carbon tax bill he plans to file in the current Congress and weighing the pros and cons on the impact of such a measure on developing economies like the Philippines.

“We are studying how we can implement a carbon tax gradually through several stages, without adversely affecting the government’s planned infrastructure buildup over the next six years, as well as the development of economic zones outside Metro Manila, which would, of course, require the use of fossil fuels that emit CO2,” Villafuerte said.

“Our goal is to strike a balance between protecting the environment and sustaining our high growth, like what we had earlier proposed to Malacañang in reviewing our energy mix.

Villafuerte earlier urged the government to strike a “happy balance” between environmental protection and high growth in revisiting the country’s energy mix, so it could come up with an electricity generation program that would help protect Mother Earth and ensure energy security and keep the economy on its upward trajectory.

Topics: Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte , carbon tax , carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions , greenhouse gases , climate change
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