Tax polluting companies, says Dutch technology boss

23 Feb 2016
Wouter Last, president of plant IT at Dutch technology company, Hint, has called for a CO2 tax to encourage companies to be more environmentally friendly

Wouter Last, president of plant IT at Dutch technology company, Hint, has called for a CO2 tax to encourage companies to be more environmentally friendly

Companies should pay a CO2 tax to encourage green behaviour, according to Wouter Last, president of plant IT at Dutch technology company, Hint.

Mr Last, also an engineering specialist at the firm, believes the COP21 climate deal missed an opportunity to make companies more active in reducing global emissions.

“It is high time that global politics take measures to make the use of fossil fuels expensive and the development of energy-efficient technology profitable. An emission tax is the best way,” said Mr Last.

“At the moment, the biggest polluters are the manufacturing industry, transport, and the real estate sector. All three induce high CO2 emissions. On the one hand, this is because energy efficiency is often not a spearhead for processes and technologies. On the other hand, it is because they use the most polluting fuels,” he added.

The technologies to increase energy efficiency and to reduce emissions already exist, but are not yet profitable. Mr Last is concerned that the market offers little incentive to use alternative energy sources.

“Coal and oil are readily available and cheap, and developing and using sustainable technology is not economically viable. Blowing off CO2 is just about free. A carbon tax tackles this problem, because it makes the alternatives more attractive,” he explained.

Mr Last sees natural gas as a natural, versatile alternative that could be deployed at short notice.  

“Natural gas is more efficient in consumption than oil and produces considerably less CO2 emissions. Gas resources are also more than sufficient to replace oil and coal,” he said.

As well as reducing emissions, Mr Last would also like companies to tackle remaining emissions in a more environmentally friendly way.

“I’m thinking of CO2 storage in old gas wells, which will also free the last bit of gas from it. The technology to consume in a much more economical way already offers many possibilities, too. Heat storage in buildings and more advanced electric transport are good examples of this,” he explained.

“At present these innovative methods are not yet economically viable. The required capital requires savings, meaning the industry needs to be stimulated financially before they’ll pick it up seriously.

“This can be accomplished quite easily with a hefty tax on greenhouse gas. This is why I think it is remarkable and sad that the world leaders do not choose this route in their fight against global warming,” he concluded.