Draft carbon tax bill published for public comment

The National Treasury has published the Draft Carbon Tax Bill for public comment.

This follows the announcement made by the Minister of Finance in the 2015 Budget. Cabinet approved the publication of the Bill and noted that the carbon tax forms an integral part of the system for implementing government policy on climate change as outlined in the 2011 National Climate Change Response Policy (NCCRP) and the National Development Plan.

South Africa has committed to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions below business as usual by 34% by 2020 and 42% by 2025‚ as well as adaptation measures‚ as outlined in the country’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) recently submitted to the United Nations for the upcoming Conference of Parties (COP) 21 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris.

According to a statement issued by the Treasury‚ the carbon tax seeks to price carbon by obliging the polluter to internalise the external costs of emitting carbon‚ and contribute towards addressing the harm caused by such pollution.

“The Draft Carbon Tax Bill marks the next step in the consultation process conducted over the past 5 years‚ starting with the 2010 discussion paper on carbon tax‚ the 2013 Carbon Tax Policy Paper and the 2014 Carbon Offsets Paper. It takes into account comments received in writing‚ and from meetings and workshops‚ from a wide range of stakeholders including business‚ NGOs‚ academia‚ civil society and labour.

“The publication of the Draft Carbon Tax Bill provides an opportunity for further comments on the design and technical details of the carbon tax policy and administration. It should be noted that the final tax rate‚ exemptions‚ and the actual date of implementation will be determined by the Minister of Finance through the annual Budget process. The carbon tax will be implemented together with complementary measures like a reduction in the electricity levy and other measures to recycle revenue.

“Stakeholders are invited to provide comments on the environmental and socio-economic impact of the carbon tax (taking into account revenue recycling measures)‚ as well as the design and legal wording of the Bill‚” the statement said.

A revised Bill incorporating comments received will be submitted to Cabinet for approval for tabling in Parliament‚ it added.