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Tax the rich to pay for climate action say Italians - study

Tax the rich to pay for climate action say Italians - study

Strong support for sweeping reforms says Earth4All

ROME, 24 June 2024, 10:23

ANSA English Desk



Most Italian people recognize the need for major change to tackle the climate crisis and are in favour of higher taxes on the income and wealth of the rich to help pay for the ecological transition, according to a major new international study.
    The Ipsos survey of 18 G20 countries commissioned by the Earth4All initiative and the Global Commons Alliance found that, in Italy, 62% of people believe the world needs large-scale climate action this decade. Furthermore, 61% of Italians support a tax on wealth and 64% support higher income taxes for wealthy people.
    There is also strong support for policies that redistribute revenues raised from pollution taxes, for example on greenhouse gas emissions, with 71% in favour.
    The survey also said 63% of the Italians polled support an economic system that prioritises the wellbeing of people and nature over profit and increasing wealth. "A large majority of Italians believe a giant leap is needed this decade to address the climate emergency," said Earth4All co-lead Owen Gaffney.
    "Despite recent political shifts, there remains strong support for sweeping reforms for planetary stewardship.
    "Italians show strong support for fair tax reforms… underscoring citizen commitment to a just transition.
    "There's a clear mandate for accountable governance and policies that ensure a fair and sustainable transformation".
    The findings may seem surprising given the recent successes at the ballot box of Italy's ruling coalition led by Premier Giorgia Meloni and her right-wing Brothers of Italy (FdI) party, including in this month's European elections.
    Meloni's government is highly critical of many of the policies of the European Green Deal, arguing a more pragmatic approach is needed in addressing the environmental crisis.
    "The big puzzle is why support for climate action and addressing wealth inequality does not translate into political momentum" Gaffney told ANSA.
    "The survey can't answer this definitively, but it gives us some pointers.
    "Generally, a significant number of people have a low opinion of government and many don't really trust that the government is working for ordinary people.
    "They might experience this as wage stagnation for many years and job insecurity. They may worry that an energy transition will make them worse off" Indeed, the survey said that Just one in four Italians trust the government to make decisions that benefit the majority of people.
    This drops to just 21% when it comes to long-term decisions that benefit future generations.
    "Many people want political reform and while people definitely support democracy as a good way to govern, a surprising number are not put off by more authoritarian or populist styles of government," Gaffney continued.
    "I think far-right parties have been successful at tapping into this frustration. But what I hope the survey shows is that an ambitious agenda for a fair transformation of society - a new social contract - is a vote winner.
    "Climate policies can't be just seen in isolation. This is systems change".
    The results for Italy were in line with those of other G20 countries.
    The Ipsos survey said 68% of citizens across 17 G20 countries back a wealth tax on the rich as a means of funding major changes to our economy and lifestyle, with only 11% opposed, while 70% support higher rates of income tax on wealthy people, and 69% favour higher tax rates on large businesses.
    Earth4All, a collective of leading economic thinkers, scientists and advocates, has released the findings ahead of July's G20 summit in Brazil For the first time, a wealth tax is on the agenda as these nations deliberate on strategies to address economic and environmental challenges.


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