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Massive support for eco tax

A new pressure group called "Ecological taxes now," founded in Austria last month, has the support of some 800,000 citizens. It was initiated by renewable energy associations, trade unions and church organisations. As part of its cause, the group hopes to pressure politicians into a reform of energy taxes to benefit renewables. At the moment all energy, including renewables, is taxed at AUS 0.10/ kWh. A proposal for an ecological tax system to raise AUS 9-40 billion annually was rejected in December by the government. It feared for the welfare of pensioners using coal for heating and felt the system would be unfair to farmers using diesel machinery. "The government has strong ties with the utilities.," comments Stefan Hantsch of the Austrian wind association. Meanwhile, the country's renewable energy association, the Bundesverband für Erneuerbare Energien, has joined forces with Greenpeace to develop an eco-label for renewables generated power. It is also helping the wind association in its fight for free transmission and use of the grid for renewables power.

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