A British plan for a climate change tax to be levied on heavy energy users has been significantly scaled back, from about a 20 percent tax on energy costs to a 10 percent tax, in large part because of complaints from industry. But proposed changes to the climate change tax, set to go into effect in 2001, include some good news for enviros because exemptions from the tax will be made for renewable energy such as solar and wind, as well as for modern, fuel-efficient gas-fired systems. The Brits announced yesterday that they will also abandon a commitment to raise gas taxes each year by 6 percent more than inflation, after vehement protests from truck drivers and rural drivers. Meanwhile, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are expected to rise at an average annual rate of 1.3 percent until 2020, according to new projections released yesterday by the Department of Energy.

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