In October 1991 the European Commission sent the Council a draft action program called the European project of environmental taxes that encouraged members of the European Union to introduce environmental taxes. This project was a sustainable development policy to tax the polluters to make them aware of the environmental costs they generate.
It was an insurance-policy of structural solidarity, with the ultimate goals of survival of wildlife, plants and humans. The instruments to achieve these objectives are regulations, tradable emission permits and a taxation treaty, in which we will be interested. European countries have taken significant strides to make their tax systems more environmentally friendly.
What lessons should we draw? Are Green taxes effective instruments to achieve these environmental objectives? Thus, we try to answer these questions after presenting the basic principles and issues of environmental taxes.
Today, the vision that prevails in our societies is the economic vision. However this function leads to a society at odds with his environment. During the last half century, despite the ecological knowledge, governments have, in fact privileged economic development without taking into account the adverse effects on the environment.
This has helped to degrade ecosystems and warm the Earth's climate, mainly due to emissions of carbon dioxide. At this rate, this type of economy is doomed to a gradual decline.
However, the need to build a sustainable economy where the market reflects the true cost of goods and services appears. The speech given by Jacques Chirac to the meeting of Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002 "Our house is burning and we look elsewhere," confirms this trend. This concern of governments to consider the real cost of environmental degradation through instruments such as environmental taxes has in fact started in the early 1980s.
Internationally, two treaties were ratified: the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change entered into force in 1994 and the Kyoto Protocol entered into force in 2005. This project aims to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere when the first treaty was simply intended to keep emissions. Between 2008 and 2012, the European Community and is committed to reducing its emissions by 8% energy.
The implementation of economic instruments such as environmental taxes in environmental policy has grown significantly since the early 1990s. So these are instruments that have relatively recent policy to implement the system of "polluter pays".
Since the prices of goods and services do not reveal the ecological reality, the national and supranational authorities have decided to establish Pigovian taxes that aim to internalize external environmental costs. These negative externalities are costs borne by an individual or the community when economic agents do not take into account these costs in its decision of production or consumption of a good or service.
If these environmental costs are not internalized in the price, this will lead to overproduction in relation to the social optimum. The introduction of environmental taxes and allows the signals to correct market prices to reduce pollution. Companies can incorporate the tax in their prices or transfer.
The primary goal, incentive, is to limit or stop the consumption of a product or program. The allocation of tax revenues from these taxes is a secondary objective. This is the "double dividend". All polluters are not equal in the production of risk and harm, which will assume a non-uniform tax.
Tags: Europe; ecotaxes; European ecotaxes; environmental costs
[...] First, as shown in the graph below, the environmental outcome is uncertain. Source: Ecole des Mines de Paris, Matthew Glachant On the other hand, the revenue generated by environmental taxes (see example of France in Appendix should help to reduce distortionary taxes (income tax, capital tax, taxes on labor). Unfortunately, obtaining a double dividend is also uncertain. However, in recent years, a number of OECD countries have used the revenues generated from environmental taxes to reduce the tax wedge on labor (difference between what employers pay in wages and social charges and what employees have after tax and deduction of social security contributions). [...]
[...] To avoid too heavy a burden for companies, revenue is fully refunded. This tax had a significant effect: the emission level of NO X increased, on average mg / MJ in 1990 to 99 mg / MJ in 1992, a decrease of 60%. See chart below Source: Swedish tax on NOx INERIS This tax has identified 65 million k € of revenue per year. The success of this tax is probably due to the level of the tax incentive and the fact that it is fully redistributed. [...]
[...] Although some countries (especially Scandinavian countries) are certainly ahead in the use of economic instruments such as environmental taxes, the OECD countries, especially France, have more work to do and should further develop environmental policies. [...]
[...] If these environmental costs are not internalized in the price, this will lead to an oversupply in relation to the social optimum. The introduction of environmental taxes allows to correct market price signals to reduce pollution. Companies can incorporate the tax in their prices or transfer. The primary objective, incentive, is to limit or stop the consumption of a product or emission. The allocation of tax revenues from these taxes is a secondary objective. This is the "double dividend". All polluters are not equal in the production of risk and damage, which will assume a non-uniform tax. [...]
[...] Internationally, two treaties were ratified: The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change entered into force in 1994 and the Kyoto Protocol entered into force in 2005. The latter aims to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere while the first treaty was merely intended to maintain the rate of emissions. Between 2008 and 2012, the European Community will be committed to reducing its energy emissions by 8%. The implementation of economic instruments such as eco-taxes in environmental policy has developed considerably since the early 1990s. [...]
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