Wopke Hoekstra, the nominee for the new European Commissioner for Climate Action, has proposed taxing fossil fuels on a global scale. In a hearing before the European Parliament’s environment committee, the Dutch Green MEP also pledged to phase out the EU’s fossil fuel subsidies.
Hoekstra said he wanted to look into introducing “an international kerosene tax, a maritime levy, a fossil fuels tax,” according to a report by the Financial Times. According to media reports, however, some MEPs believe that any global tax on fossil fuels would be delayed or “insubstantial.”
Global transportation is currently exempt from fuel taxes, although the EU emissions trading scheme covers aviation and is supposed to be extended to shipping next year, according to media reports. However, Hoekstra believes that the EU cannot achieve climate neutrality alone and that combating climate change calls for global cooperation.
Hoekstra: The EU cannot reach climate neutrality alone
“The sooner fossil fuels become history, the better,” said Hoekstra, adding that fossil fuels are “counterproductive for the EU’s energy transition,” according to a statement from the European parliament. The EU granted EUR 52 billion in fossil fuel subsidies from 2015 and 2021, according to news agencies.
Hoekstra pledged to work towards cutting the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 90% by 2040, according to the reports. He also said he he would do everything to make sure the EU meets its 55% emission reduction target by 2030, and climate neutrality by 2050.
In the end, the European Parliament’s environment committee backed Hoekstra for the new European Commissioner for Climate Action.
Hoekstra held a position with oil giant Shell
Hoekstra, a former Dutch foreign minister, was nominated as the EU’s new commissioner in charge of the European Green Deal and climate action to replace Frans Timmermans, who resigned in August.
Early in his career, Hoekstra held a position with oil giant Shell, according to media reports. He held commercial positions at Shell from 2002 to 2004 before working for a decade at McKinsey.