Having seen efforts in the February budget to plug a R48bn hole in the state’s finances, everyone should be aware that the government is keen to find new sources of revenue — hence the Easter weekend value-added tax hike, sugar tax implementation and a rise in fuel levies. However, the new carbon tax, due to be launched on January 1, is not just another way to raise funds for a cash-strapped government; it is meant to have a higher purpose, a green goal. That’s the theory, anyway. It is being sold to business as part of a strategy to cut emissions — the stick. The carrot will be incentives to cut pollution, to follow the green path. Details of these remain murky apart from the S12L energy efficiency tax allowance, which will lapse in 2020. The concern is that if a new tax that does little to meet its objectives is to be instituted, it will cease to be a green tax and will become just another method to scoop funds from Corporate SA. The key question is whether a carbon tax will signi...

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