Environmental Tax Reform (ETR): A Policy for Green Growth

ISBN : 9780199584505

Paul Ekins; Stefan Speck
416 Pages
163 x 240 mm
Pub date
Apr 2011
Creating Sustainable Growth In Europe
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Many people have serious concerns about the environment and wonder whether solving environmental problems is compatible with continuing economic growth. This book provides an in-depth exploration of a proposed reform to the national tax system, whereby the burden of taxes is shifted from conventional taxes, such as those levied on labour and capital, to taxes on environmentally related activities, that involve resource use, particularly energy, or environmental pollution. There is some experience of such 'environmental tax reform' (ETR) in Europe, and the book briefly reviews this before considering how a more ambitious ETR in Europe could substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions and material flows through the economy, while stimulating innovation and investment in the key 'clean and green' sectors of the economy which seem likely to play an increasing part in the creation of prosperity in Europe and elsewhere in the future. Case studies of renewable energy, construction, fuel-efficient vehicles, and waste management in Germany show how these fast-growing sectors are making an increasing contribution to employment, output, and exports in the German economy, while improving the environment. The book explores the implications of introducing it on a much wider scale throughout the European Union. A unique modelling exercise, using two macroeconomic models, delivers varied and complementary insights into the economic and environmental results of a large-scale ETR in Europe, and its effects on and implications for the rest of the world. The modelling suggests that such a policy has a key role in the achievement of Europe's targets to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, and, if implemented with cooperative policy in other countries, could significantly reduce global emissions. The book is essential and hopeful reading for anyone who has wondered how, with today's intensifying environmental challenges, economic growth could become more environmentally sustainable.


1. Introduction to the Issues and the Book
2. European Resource Use and Resource Productivity in a Global Context
3. Energy Consumption and CO^2 Emissions in the German and British Industrial Sectors
4. Is Environmental Tax Reform an Appropriate Policy for Industrial Sectors with Different Energy Intensities? An Analysis of UK Sub-Sectors
5. Environmental Taxes and ETRs in Europe: The Current Situation and a Review of the Modelling Literature
6. Introducing Environmental Tax Reform: the Case of the Czech Republic
7. The Effect of the German and UK Environmental Tax Reforms on the Demand for Labour and Energy
8. Models for Projecting an ETR
9. Modelling an ETR for Europe
10. Implications of ETR in Europe for Household Distribution
11. Global Economic and Environmental Impacts of an ETR in Europe
12. ETR and the Environment Industry
13. ETR for Green Growth: Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations

About the author: 

Paul Ekins holds a PhD in economics from the University of London and is Co-Director of the UK Energy Research Centre. He has extensive experience consulting for business, government, and international organisations. In 1994 he received a Global 500 Award 'for outstanding environmental achievement' from the United Nations Environment Programme. His academic work focuses on the conditions and policies for achieving an environmentally sustainable economy, and he is an authority on a number of areas of energy-environment-economy interaction and environmental policy. He is the author of numerous papers, book chapters, and articles in a wide range of journals, and has written or edited ten books. ; Stefan Speck holds a PhD in economics. He has worked as Senior Consultant at Kommunalkredit Public Consulting in Vienna, as a senior project scientist at the National Environmental Research Institute, University of Aarhus, and as a project manager at the Regional Environmental Center in Budapest. His research focuses on the application of market based instruments for environmental policy, environmental fiscal reform, and environmental financing. He has implemented projects for a range of clients including the Danish Environmental Protection Agency (DEPA), European Commission (DG Environment), European Environment Agency (EEA), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, and the Department for International Development (DFID), England. He has carried out research projects in Africa and Asia, and has published widely on economic instruments and environmental financing.

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