Chapter 2: Environmental Taxation in China: The Case of Transport Fuel Taxation
Yan Xu* 1. INTRODUCTION In the 1960s, due to rapid industrial development, a series of grave environmental pollution accidents occurred in a number of countries. Man-made environmental harm in many regions of the earth, such as dangerous water and air pollution, and destruction and depletion of irreplaceable resources, has posed a major threat to the existence and development of mankind. We have begun to face increasingly severe environmental problems. In 1972, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) adopted the Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (The Stockholm Declaration), which, for the first time, raised concerns about the preservation and enhancement of the human environment for the purpose of development of mankind. In 1987, the World Commission on Environment and Development published a report called Our Common Future (The Report). The Report recaptured the spirit of The Stockholm Declaration and helped make the concept of environmentally sustainable development widely accepted, in principle, at least, by many countries. The shorthand characterization of sustainable development means development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The Report called for collective action by all national states to participate in finding solutions to the “tragedy of the commons”. Among various measures for protecting the environment and fairly distributing natural resources across regions and generations, taxation can serve as an important instrument to help achieve this goal. The economic rationale of environmental taxes or green taxes often rests on what Pigou,...
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