Category Archives: Ecotax

Valuing Nature: Democracy or economics?

"… environmental sustainability will not be served by introducing or extending market instruments and norms to various areas of society, but quite the reverse. It would be better served by expanding and supporting the public sphere – both procedurally and substantively."

Another must-read article from the OpenDemocracy web site explaining why sustainability cannot be attained by putting a market value on natural capital and the economic "commons".

market instruments and norms need to be removed from areas for which they are simply not appropriate. In essence, the social project for sustainability is part of that, as Karl Polanyi recognised, to arrest all manner of social ills produced by unfettered markets. It is part of the social project of (re)subjecting markets, in particular, key resource use, to social and democratic control. Subjecting markets and key resource use to genuine democratic control means that markets may be made to serve people and planet rather than the other way around.”

Report: Green taxes key to tackling European deficits

Green taxes should play a crucial role in tackling Europe’s spiralling deficits, according to a major new report backed by some of the continent’s political heavyweights. The 160-page report from NGOs the European Climate Foundation and Green Budget Europe and consultancy Vivid Economics argues that carbon and energy taxes present an effective means of tackling greenhouse gas emissions and raising much-needed revenue, while having less of a negative impact on growth than conventional fiscal measure such as income taxes and VAT.” (Source: Business Green)

Interesting report sponsored by the European Climate Foundation.

But what will the new revenues be spent on? Saving the banks? The report also seems to skip a bit too easily over the challenge of the regressive nature of such taxes (impact on poor households).

Read the executive summary and the full report “Carbon taxation and fiscal consolidation” (May 2012)

IMF economist: equality is the best remedy against crisis

"Unless countries reduce income disparities the next financial collapse is inevitable, argues economist Michael Kumhof. Perhaps a surprising conclusion from a senior researcher at the IMF. In interview he argues that equality is the best recipe against crisis."   Excellent interview in Eurozine with IMF economist Michael Kumhof.

Read also the recent report by the European Trade Union Institute: “Benchmarking Working Europe 2012”.

Environmental tax reform: increasing individual incomes and boosting innovation

European governments could simultaneously reduce income tax, increase innovation and cut pollution by introducing well-targeted environmental taxes and recycling the revenues back into the economy.”  

Two new reports published two weeks ago by the European Environment Agency got little visibility in the media.

Read the full reports:

The week ahead: climate change, oil prices, financial chaos

While all eyes will be on the financial markets this week due to continuing fall-out of the US house crisis, climate change issues will also take centerstage again. On 17 November, the UN’s intergovernmental panel on climate change will present its synthesis report on global warming in Valencia, summarising the three reports it already published this year. In Brussels, EU finance ministers will start talks on possible tax reductions for “green” products. France and the UK are trying to push for VAT reductions on energy-efficient products.

The other 1 million dollar question of the week: will oil prices hit the 100 dollar per barrel mark?

Further reading:

New Dutch government to go green and clean

After months of difficult negotiations, the Netherlands will get a new centre-left government. Former Prime Minister Balkenende has reached a coalition agreement with the social-democrats of opposition leader Bos and a smaller religious party, the Christian Union.

According to Dutch newspaper NRC, the new government will spend more than 850 million euros for environment and clean energy. It will also introduce a new ecotax on airplane tickets and implement a strong energy efficiency plan which should lead to 2% energy savings per year.

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