The ecological taxes are one of the most efficient ways to fight climate change and a measure of stimulation for low-carbon development. In North Macedonia, the greatest source of greenhouse gases is the energy sector, through thermal power stations that use coal. This also includes transportation and heating with fossil fuels such as oil, petroleum jelly, or coal. Both abroad and domestically, apart from the energetics, some industrial branches are also great sources of carbon dioxide, starting from major industrial plants, such as cement plants orfoundries, to agricultural greenhouses, which also often use fossil fuel for heating.

The introduction of the Carbon Tax will mean opening new possibilities for investments in renewable sources that are very necessary, says Elena Nikolovska from the Eko Svest organization. It’s about securing financial assets not only for renewable sources but also for innovations towards the application of best practices and available technologies in the direction of low carbon development.

Elena Nikolovska, Eko-Svest” | Photo: Private archive

“Even though it was mentioned as a possibility in the Energy Development Strategy and was envisioned as a measure in the National Energetics and Climate Plan, the process for introduction of the Carbon Tax hasn’t started yet. This means there is no legal framework for this instrument and it is still not known what shape it will be introduced in. Regardless of the scenario we will choose, the Carbon Tax measure is necessary for securing a sustainable mechanism for financing this transformation. This is necessary in order to meet the goal set by the Energy Community and the EU. The quicker we introduce it, the quicker we shall go towards meeting those goals,” Nikolovska says.

This tax has been introduced in a number of countries in Europe and worldwide and is paid by the producers of products that are linked to carbon dioxide emissions, but also by the buyers of those products. It is estimated that the most developed countries emit around 40% of those emissions and during 2017 in the European Union, around 370 billion EUR were collected as ecology taxes. The result of that is lowering the emission of carbon dioxide by 22% during the period between 1990 and 2017.

The Ministry of Environment said that they are still analyzing what the introduction of the Carbon Tax would mean for the stationary sources of the emissions and the ways how it will be determined domestically.

“The carbon tax is analyzed from an angle of the potential for decreasing the emission of greenhouse gasses. The analysis will show when the Carbon Tax will be introduced and its ammounts, which on the other hand will depend on to what degree it will burden the production capacities in North Macedonia. The Energy strategy has shown if the height of the carbon tax is above 35 EUR per ton, it will mean closing or lowering the work intensity of the Thermal Power Plant in Bitola. On the other hand, even without the introduction of the carbon tax, there isn’t any economic justification for Oslomej plant to continue working” said the ministry.