Brits Back Taxes On Environmentally Damaging Goods

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But the Greeks are the most environmentally aware in Europe according to report endorsed by the Greek born EU Environment commissioner

The UK has come out as most in favour of tax breaks for green design and corresponding taxation of environmentally damaging products according to a survey from the European Directorate General for the Environment.

The British came out as the top supporters of the idea of a double taxation system on green goods according to the Eurobarometer survey published this week designed to seek out views of consumers across the region when it comes to the environmental impact of the products they purchase.

Although the survey did not explicitly ask questions about technology products, respondents were asked about their views on energy efficiency which was identified as being important when considering items that use electricity.

“A large majority of respondents in all countries in this study said they often, or always, take energy-efficiency into consideration when buying products that use electricity or fuel – ranging from 59% in Cyprus to 85% in Germany,” the report stated.

A recent report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) revealed that by 2010 there will be more than 3.5 billion mobile phone subscribers, 1 billion personal computers and 2 billion televisions in use around the world. As the numbers of these devices increase, so, too, does the demand for energy. Presenting the new IEA publication, “Gadgets and Gigawatts” in Paris on 13 May, IEA executive director Nobuo Tanaka remarked that “despite anticipated improvements in the efficiency of electronic devices, these savings are likely to be overshadowed by the rising demand for technology”.

“Without new policies, the energy consumed by information and communications technologies as well as consumer electronics will double by 2022 and increase threefold by 2030 to 1,700 Terawatt hours (TWh). This will jeopardise efforts to increase energy security and reduce the emission of greenhouse gases,” the IEA wrote in a statement at the time.

But according to the EC survey, around four out of five of respondents said that they consider the environmental impact of the products they buy according to the survey – with strong support for the idea of carbon labeling.

“The battle against climate change must be fought on all fronts and everyone must contribute. It is not only the remit of companies and governments; consumers also have their part to play,” said Athens-born EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas. “By purchasing environmentally and climate-friendly products individual customers send the right signal to producers who respond in turn by producing more eco-friendly products.”

Interestingly given the Greek nationality of the EU commissioner quoted in the statement, the report revealed that the most environmentally aware people in Europe are – the Greeks. “With 92% in favour Greeks were more likely to consider the environmental impact of the products they buy while the Czechs were the least likely (62%),” the report stated.

Greeks also made a strong showing when it comes to carbon labeling according to the survey. “Attitudes on the subject varied widely between Member States with the Czechs the least in favour of such labelling (47%) and Greeks wholeheartedly behind the idea with 90% in favour,” the survey stated.

The survey itself was compiled by The Gallup Organisation – based not in Greece but in Hungary.

“The document does not represent the point of view of the European Commission”, according to a declaration on the front of the survey.