The Paris agreement was an imposed necessity for preventing climate change and strengthening the global response towards sustainable, climate resilient cities. The active involvement of the local authorities to the new climate and energy targets is indispensable, playing decisive role for states' strategies achievement.
Many European countries, among them Cyprus, have applied fiscal policies promoting energy efficiency, RES, reduction of wastes etc., towards a greener economy and a higher quality of life. However, when the green fiscal policies are shifted to local level for implementation, the successful application is surrounded by many barriers.
Although many local authorities in Cyprus have committed to the Covenant of Mayors movement for implementing sustainable energy and climate actions, limited competencies and authorization in their territory, withhold effective, non-time-consuming solutions. Consequently, local authorities in Cyprus were unable to introduce a new-green-taxation category and further support the sustainable energy and climate action plans in place.
An innovative three-way approach was identified and promoted in two municipalities, Nicosia and Lakatamia Municipality, for a successful application of green taxation and practices. The first step was the analysis of the current legislative framework and how the green fees can be adapted inside a taxation category without any Law revision. The second step was the selection of a suitable taxation category for each municipality where the green fiscal policies will be approved and applied in their territory. Finally, the third step was the establishment of a green -revolving- fund from which the revenues of the green taxation will finance sustainable actions supporting RES and energy efficiency measures.
The results were impressive given the fact that many times in the past, Cypriot local authorities have been trying to apply green taxation without any success. Nicosia Municipality has approved green taxation under Hotel Accommodation Tax and the revenues collected will compensate all the Hotels in its region, with free Energy Audits as well as the funding of two awareness events each year. Lakatamia Municipality has engaged an amount from the recent increase of the Waste management fees for the development of RES-REUSE educational corner inside the municipal waste (green) point. This interactive educational corner will increase awareness on RES, energy efficiency, reuse of waste, and will become a destination for school trips.
All actions for the implementation of green fiscal policies in the Cypriot municipalities were co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund, Interreg MED Program, project LOCAL4GREEN.
This abstract was presented at GCET 20 on Thursday, September 26th, in Limassol, Cyprus.
Keywords: Green Fiscal Policies, Green Taxation, Cypriot Local Authorities, Climate Change, SECAPs