Report: British Government Mulls 'Green Taxes' to Fight Climate Change

The British government may levy new "green taxes" to combat climate change, a newspaper reported Sunday.

The Mail on Sunday said in early editions that it had obtained a letter purportedly written by Environment Minister David Miliband to treasury chief Gordon Brown which called for higher taxes on cheap airline flights, fuel and high-emission vehicles.

The government should "increase the pace of existing tax measures, broaden them into sectors where incentives to cut carbon emissions are weak and identify new instruments to drive progress in tackling greenhouse gas," the newspaper quoted the letter as stating.

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A $9.50 increase in taxes on low-cost airline flights would raise $760 million a year, the report said. The letter also recommends that the government explore a "substantial increase" in taxes for high-emission vehicles.

The newspaper quoted an aide to Miliband as saying that the letter contained only ideas, rather than a package of measures.

A report on climate change, commissioned by Brown, was released Monday. The 700-page report says global warming could cost world economies trillions of dollars.

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According to the Observer, a Sunday newspaper, the report says the world needs to spend $349 billion, or 1 percent of global gross domestic product, to deal with climate change.

The report also recommends that a successor to the Kyoto accord be signed next year rather than waiting for 2010 or 2011 because of the urgency of the problem.