Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Higher petrol taxes don’t hurt the poor

29.11.2011
Increased petrol taxation is a very effective instrument to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A common argument against such a measure is that it hits poor people the hardest.

Yet a new study by researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, – the largest ever of its kind – shows that it is middle- and high-income earners who are generally affected the most by petrol taxes, especially in poor countries.

The UN climate negotiations COP17 are currently underway in Durban, South Africa. The global emissions of greenhouse gases must decrease by at least two percent per year in order to keep our planet’s temperature from rising by more than two degrees Centigrade.

“Petrol taxes are effective and actually don’t affect poor people disproportionally. Powerful lobbyists have tried to undermine the whole idea of petrol taxes, claiming that the effects are too hard on the poor. Our results contradict this view, especially with respect to developing countries,” says Thomas Sterner, Professor of Environmental Economics at the University of Gothenburg and lead author in the UN climate panel’s (IPCC) working group Mitigation of Climate Change.

Thomas Sterner is also the editor of the new book Fuel Taxes and the Poor, The Distributional Effects of Gasoline Taxation and Their Implications for Climate Policy, authored by 35 renowned researchers.

The 35 researchers studied data from 25 different countries to investigate the concern that petrol taxes affect poor people the most. The team included leading researchers from China, India, Indonesia, USA, Latin America, as well as many countries in Africa and Europe.

“The reason why the global climate negotiations are so slow has to do with global justice. Poor nations have not caused climate change and they want to be compensated rather than being forced to pay for adaptation and mitigation; they want their share of the atmospheric commons. Our research shows however, that increased fuel taxes are not, per se, incompatible with sustainable growth, reduced poverty and an improved climate,” says Thomas Sterner.

The researchers conclude that although in some high-income countries particularly the US, petrol taxes may indeed be regressive and affect the poor more, in most countries, and particularly in the poor it is the middle-and high-income earners who are generally hit harder – the tax is progressive. India, China and many African countries are examples, where cars and fuels are luxury products. In many European countries such as Sweden the petrol tax is roughly neutral.

About 25 percent of the global emissions of fossil CO2 can be traced to the transport sector, and this share has increased in recent years. In the EU it has grown from 20 to 30 percent in the last 20 years.

Thomas Sterner emphasizes that international climate negotiators should emphasize global justice and pay attention to distributional effects. “An increased petrol tax effectively reduces emissions of greenhouse gases from the transport sector, at the same time as it exemplifies these justice aspects.”

For more information please contact Thomas Sterner:
thomas.sterner@economics.gu.se, +46 (0)31 786 13 77
Press officer: Karin Backteman, +46 31 786 25 95, karin.backteman@economics.gu.se

The book Fuel Taxes and the Poor, The Distributional Effects of Gasoline Taxation and Their Implications for Climate Policy is published by RFF Press, Resources for the Future in Washington D.C. (www.rff.org) in cooperation with EfD, Environment for Development initiative (www.environmentfordevelopment.org), which is administered by the Environmental Economics Unit at the University of Gothenburg with funding from Sida. Link to the Routledge website about the book: http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9781617260926/

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:
http://www.gu.se

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

nachricht Urbanization to convert 300,000 km2 of prime croplands
27.12.2016 | Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) gGmbH

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A big nano boost for solar cells

18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Glass's off-kilter harmonies

18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed

18.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>