Germany introduces a carbon tax. What will this mean for Czechia?

For one ton of CO2 produced, the state will collect €25

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Marek Kerles

Starting next month, the consumption of fossil fuels in Germany, including for use in transport or residential heating systems, will be subject to a carbon tax. For one ton of CO2 produced, the state will collect 660 korunas (€25). The introduction of a carbon tax in Europe’s strongest economy could have consequences for all of Europe. According to some Czech critics, however, the expected reduction in greenhouse gas emissions will not happen anyway.
Starting in the new year, every ton of CO2 released into the atmosphere in Germany through the combustion of petrol, diesel, heating oil and gas will be subject to a carbon tax of €25 (CZK 660). This means that anyone who offers their goods and services while “generating” greenhouse gases must expect increased costs. These should gradually increase, with the tax per ton of CO2 produced rising to €55 in five years, more than double the amount approved for next year.
Who will pay for it? It depends on whether and to what extent companies pass on their increased costs to end customers. In many cases, according to economists, it is already certain that some goods and services will become more expensive. For example, the price of petrol, with the carbon tax included, should rise by 7.5 cents per liter in Germany next year.
Can it work? In Germany itself, there are disputes about this. Even if the relevant law will be applied in less than a month, for example, it is still uncertain who will pay the carbon tax for heating in apartment buildings. According to today’s laws, the increased cost (if increased by the state) should be paid by the tenant; this would provoke strong opposition not only among the tenants but also some politicians. They are afraid that the announced carbon tax will gain a reputation for affecting poorer Germans in particular, while not affecting the rich all that much.
In short, the German Government has planned a carbon tax as a seemingly simple system. It will collect billions from those who, in its view, have the greatest impact on the environment through their way of life and business and redistribute that money to support investment in “zero-emission” or “low-emission” technologies. This will create space for Germany to become climate-neutral within thirty years.
What does the German plan mean for Czechia? The Germans themselves admit that it will not be possible to assess some of the effects of the carbon tax right away. And this also applies to how entrepreneurs and traders will react to the new tax. But the increase in the price of goods and services in Germany could mean a competitive advantage for Czech companies.
On the other hand, the introduction of a carbon tax in the strongest European economy is a touchstone for other European countries. The Czech government, for example, has been negotiating a similar tax for three years, and in some other countries, such as Sweden, it has long been in force, albeit in a slightly different form.
In Sweden, one ton of CO2 “costs” €115, which allegedly led to a relatively large shift away from heating with diesel and heating oils and to “greener” methods with natural pumps, industrial waste heat and natural gas. On the other hand, the Swedish government has partially compensated people for the increased costs by reducing the income tax.
In any case, Czech proponents of this tax, which has been talked about in the Czech Republic for several years, expect the introduction in Germany to be a positive example for all of Europe, perhaps for the whole world. And they also promise to speed up the process of “carbon taxation” in the Czech Republic.
“The introduction of a carbon tax is generally a good approach because it transfers the costs of burning coal, oil, and gas from the shoulders of taxpayers to those who pollute. At the same time, it helps the world with clean technologies,” wrote Štěpán Chalupa, Chairman of the Chamber of Renewable Energy Sources to INFO.CZ.
According to him, as one of the most effective tools for decarbonization, the chamber has long supported a tax because there is allegedly clear evidence of how effectively it works in northern Europe, for example. “However, its implementation requires great political courage and vision,” said Chalupa.
On the contrary, energy analyst Jaroslav Čížek, the founder of the expert platform “Realistic Energy and Ecology,” considers the carbon tax to be pure nonsense in terms of its declared goals.
This is mainly due to a completely erroneous assessment of the emission load of various sources. “The fact that with the help of this tax I will start driving in Germany an electric car instead of a car with an internal combustion engine does not mean, for God’s sake, that I have stopped producing emissions while driving,” said Čížek.
If Germany’s efforts to “save the climate” were truly honest, he continued, it would have to include all the emission costs of producing electric cars, solar panels, wind turbines, simply everything that “looks” like a clean resource or product in Germany.
“But it is not clean. Only, the dirt produced during its production and extraction of raw materials is released into the air elsewhere. However, this does not reduce the problem of excessive greenhouse gas production for the whole globe in any way,“ argued Čížek.
According to him, Germany, as well as other civilized states, through a carbon tax, are making a nonsensical theory that the consumption of their inhabitants can continue to grow, but will, unlike today, arise in an emission-free way. “By now, it must be clear to everyone that this assumption cannot work, as it would be perpetuum mobile. The only way to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions is to reduce consumption, especially in countries as rich as Germany. But unlike a carbon tax, this is, of course, not a good political topic,” concluded Čížek.
Title image: In this Nov. 12, 2014, file photo, Lydia Holland replaces the gas nozzle after filling up at a gas station in Sacramento, California. A measure that would have imposed a hefty tax on carbon pollution and use much of the revenue to give money back to taxpayers was heard in a California State Senate Committee meeting on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)


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