Achieving Environmental Sustainability through Fiscal Policy
Critical Issues in Environmental Taxation series
Edited by Larry Kreiser, Julsuchada Sirisom, Hope Ashiabor and Janet E. Milne
Chapter 11: Prospects of South African Vehicle Emissions Tax Reducing CO2 Emissions
Rudie Nel and Gerhard Nienaber INTRODUCTION The global community is facing immense challenges in dealing with the environmental issues brought about by pollution and the concomitant ecological degradation which is not confined within geographical boundaries – actions on climate change are therefore required across all countries (Anjum 2008:1). Climate change is a major cause of global warming, and is one of the negative results of pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Based on the figures released by the World Resources Institute (2000), CO2 emissions represent 77 per cent of greenhouse gases and the transport sector contributes 13.5 per cent to the total CO2 emissions. In a bid to address the transport sector’s increasing CO2 emissions, vehicle green taxes have been introduced by the governments of various countries. The purpose of these vehicle green taxes is to serve as a deterrent to people who do not act in the best interest of the environment. This is done by attempting to influence either consumers’ driving habits (for example, fuel taxes) and/or their purchasing decisions (encouraging the acquisition of lower CO2-emitting or better fuel-economy vehicles). The concept of vehicle green taxes is also not entirely new in South Africa as transport levies have existed for years. As one aspect of fiscal reform the South African government introduced a vehicle emissions tax with effect from 1 September 2010 (SARS 2010). The purpose of the vehicle emissions tax is to attempt to reduce CO2 emissions by influencing consumer purchasing decisions (encouraging the purchase of lower CO2emitting...
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