Paying the Polluter

Paying the Polluter

Environmentally Harmful Subsidies and their Reform

Edited by Frans H. Oosterhuis and Patrick ten Brink

Pledges to reform environmentally harmful subsidies (EHS) have increased over the past few years, at both global and national levels. Paying the Polluter addresses the most important issues to be considered when embarking upon these necessary reforms.

Chapter 8: Agriculture, food and water

Edited by Frans H. Oosterhuis and Patrick ten Brink

Subjects: environment, environmental economics, environmental politics and policy, politics and public policy, environmental governance and regulation, environmental politics and policy


In this chapter we focus on subsidies in three closely related areas: agriculture, food and water. Given the resource and pollution intensity of many activities in the food chain and the water cycle, the potential environmental impact of such subsidies is high. The actual impact, however, depends on the specific design and conditions of each support scheme. Direct agricultural subsidies, such as those under the EU Common Agricultural Policy, have undergone major changes that may make them less environmentally harmful, but there remains room for further 'greening'. There are many other, often less visible subsidies that could be reform candidates, especially those that do not (anymore) serve their original objective, or do so in an inefficient way.

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