Spanish Elections: the state of Environmental Fiscal Reform in Spain’s political agenda
On December 20, the Spanish people will decide on the next political leadership of Spain. With the second highest rate of unemployment in the EU and a national debt amounting to over 97% of GDP in 2014, the outcome of the elections will be key to advance the country’s economic recovery.
In this context, GBE met with several Spanish candidates to discuss the potential of Environmental Fiscal Reform as a means to raise revenues while promoting climate policies.
Green taxation is one of the most progressive tools in the hands of today’s policy-makers. It is, in other words, what Spanish candidates need to gain visibility and put the country back on track from an economic and social perspective.
Three of the main political parties – PSOE, Podemos and Ciudadanos – have so far seized the opportunity and included it in their manifestos. Summaries of the proposals, along with links to the full manifestos, are available below.
PSOE proposes to create a green fund for the energy transition raising money from new environmental taxes. The fund will:
- subsidise the energy bills of vulnerable families and individuals, as well as their transport costs,
- facilitate credit for investment in energy savings and efficiency, with particular attention to SMEs and the residential sector, and
- offer low-interest loans to ensure clean mobility in the transport sector.
Such proposals also aim at generating growth and employment, in line with the European Commission (“Green Jobs: towards a circular economy”).
The measures are envisaged to bring Spain closer to Europe in terms of environmental tax reforms already undertaken in other member states. Such measures would include:
- a tax on emissions of CO2 per tonne,
- a tax on nitrogen oxides (NOX),
- a tax on emissions from motor vehicles depending on the type of vehicles and resulting from the fusion of current registration and circulation taxes,
- a tax on industrial waste and hazardous or toxic,
- a tax on packaging waste, packaging and bags.
These measures will be launched in cooperation with several of the autonomous regions which have already implemented similar taxes.
Podemos promises to implement a new legislation with regards to pollution and climate change. This will:
- encourage green taxation and penalise energy waste,
- introduce a carbon tax on each tonne of CO2 emitted, with the legislative support of the European Union,
- implement an Energy Transition Plan to guarantee that 100% of Spain’s energy comes from renewables by 2050,
- strengthen regional activities aiming at reforestation of several areas,
- introduce a plan of adaptation for climate change among industries and cities, and
- promote actions to advance the management of waste and water supply.
In its manifesto, Ciudadanos stated that they intend to implement an environmental tax reform to raise revenues in line with the proposals outlined by several international institutions, including the OECD.
They committed to promoting the necessary legislation to achieve of the objectives set out by Europa 2020 on environmental and energy matters. This involves GHG emissions reduction and energy efficiency, and also the approval of more ambitious climate change targets by 2030.