Countries around the world should remove subsidies and implement ”green taxes” to prevent “irreversible damage to our environment over the next 20 years,” says the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development.
PARIS, France, FR, 2001-04-23 <SolarAccess.com> Countries around the world should remove subsidies and implement ‘green taxes’ to prevent “irreversible damage to our environment over the next 20 years,” says the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development. OECD says industrialized nations should coordinate a program to remove environmentally damaging subsidies and introduce environmental taxes, “Many renewable resources are used in unsustainable ways, threatening the integrity of ecosystems,” says its ‘Environmental Outlook.’ The focus of the report is on ecosystems, and will be considered by OECD environment ministers next month. The Outlook recommends the removal of environmentally harmful subsidies and a more systematic use of environmental taxes, charges and other economic instruments to get the prices right. “At the beginning of the 21st century, OECD countries are taking stock of their natural resources, the damage that is being done to the environment, and what actions they can take to ensure a clean, healthy and productive environment to pass on to future generations,” says the opening. “The main drivers of environmental change include economic drivers (economic growth and development, trade and investment liberalization), social drivers (demographic and labour force developments, and consumption patterns), and technological innovation.” ‘Traffic lights’ are used to signal key findings, with ‘green lights’ indicating pressures that are decreasing, ‘yellow lights’ for areas of uncertainty or potential problems, and ‘red lights’ for environmental conditions for which recent trends are negative and are expected to continue to 2020. A large number of areas are placed under red lights, and need to be addressed urgently. “Climate change as a result of greenhouse gas emissions is, arguably, one of the most important red light issues faced by OECD countries,” it explains. “OECD countries are likely to increase CO 2 emissions by a further one-third to 2020, far from the overall Kyoto Protocol target for Annex I countries of a 5% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels to 2008- 2012.” “Stronger policies to tackle this problem are urgently required if the worst effects of climate change are to be averted,” it warns. “Technological responses have lessened a number of environmental pressures in the past, and they can be expected to alleviate many though certainly not all of the expected future pressures.”