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International Update Volume 48, Issue 6

SOUTH AFRICA CONSIDERS CARBON TAX

South Africa

South Africa’s Finance Minister announced plans to implement a carbon tax on businesses and companies with high emissions. The carbon tax is expected to take effect January 2019, allowing businesses almost a year to transition toward lower emissions to comply with the law. Currently, the draft Carbon Tax Bill is being considered by Parliament; if accepted as is, it will tax businesses with excessive emissions a rate of R120 (US $10.35) per ton of carbon dioxide equivalent.

SEYCHELLES PROTECTS AN AREA ‘AS BIG AS BRITAIN’ IN INDIAN OCEAN

Seychelles and The Nature Conservancy agreed to what may be the first debt swap for a marine protection area. As a result of this agreement, 210,000 sq. km (81,000 sq. mi) of ocean are protected in exchange for paying off some of the nation’s debt. To minimize further damage to marine resources, the reserves limit tourism and fishing activities in Seychelles. The nation will direct future national debt payments into a new trust, the Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT).

GERMAN COURT DELAYS RULING ON DIESEL BAN

Germany

Germany’s highest federal administrative court delayed its pending ruling on a diesel ban to February 27. The ruling on whether major cities will be allowed to ban high-polluting diesel cars poses substantial financial implications, impacting the resale value of up to 15 million vehicles and causing automakers to pay for expensive vehicle modifications. In recent proceedings, lawyers considered whether the government would need to introduce a new car-labelling scheme to enable the enforcement of any potential future bans.