Japanese Clash Over Climate Tax on Energy Use

Contact for Interviews:     <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />

Richard Morrison, 202.331.2273


Washington, D.C., March 31, 2005—Japanese bureaucrats this week clashed over a proposed “environment tax” to finance the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions and subsidize development of alternative energy sources.


That internal scuffle could open a broader debate over the real costs of government energy controls, according to CEI Senior Fellow Iain Murray.


“In an odd way, both Japanese agencies are to be admired,” said <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Murray. “Japan’s office of Global Warming Prevention, unlike most other government bodies around the world, admitted to the massive cost and vast hurdles associated with the emissions reductions called for by the Kyoto Protocol.


“Better still, of course, is the Japanese Energy Ministry’s caution in endorsing such a counterproductive proposal,” Murray added. 


After the global warming office this week called for the new environment tax, the nation’s Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry challenged the draft plan and cautioned against such a measure leading up to tax negotiations later in the year.


The news of Japan’s desperation to reach its treaty obligations to cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other gasses comes as many other countries around the world face the same difficulty.  Despite the fact that full implementation of all Kyoto requirements would have an insignificant and virtually unmeasurable impact on global temperatures, the energy taxes, lost employment and slowing economies needed to obtain them will have an immense impact on the peoples of the world. 


“A punitive consumption tax will thrust citizens into a lifestyle of energy poverty,” said Murray.  “It is the last refuge of bureaucrats who believe the well being of the public is less important than saving face in front of other bureaucrats.”