Carbon tax won’t be necessary due to technology, Mnuchin says

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U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin weighed in on the debate about a carbon tax in Davos, saying technological developments would make it redundant.

“If you want to put a tax on people, go ahead and put a carbon tax. That is a tax on hard working people. I personally think the costs are going to be a lot lower 10 years from now because of technology,” Mnuchin (pictured) said, speaking on a panel alongside European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde on Friday.

His comments go against the grain of other participants at this year’s World Economic Forum meetings. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen used Davos to warn China and other fossil fuel producers to put a price on carbon emissions at home or risk being hit with a planned greenhouse gas tax on products imported into the EU. The U.K.‘s Prince Charles also voiced support.

A carbon tax could test Europe’s ties with China just as the leadership in Beijing faces pressure to set ambitious climate targets in its next five-year plan. At the same time, China’s fractious relationship with the U.S. could challenge any effort to rein in emissions, with the trade war and the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement taking away the pressure.

“I don’t mean to minimize this issue, there’s lots of other issues we could talk about,” Mnuchin said. “The world is dependent upon having reasonable-priced energy for the next 10 or 20 years, or we’re not going to create growth, we’re not going to create jobs.”

— Jill Ward, with assistance from Saleha Mohsin and Carolynn Look

Jill Ward
Bloomberg News
Corporate taxes Steven Mnuchin ESG CSR reporting International taxes
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