Edited by Richard Cullen, Jefferson VanderWolk and Yan Xu
Chapter 3: Green Tax Measures for Hong Kong: A Policy Proposal
Jefferson VanderWolk INTRODUCTION 1. In this chapter, I will discuss green taxation1 in Hong Kong from a policy perspective. After surveying the relevant legal and tax landscape, I will turn to policy proposals for the immediate future. Specifically, I will argue that the Hong Kong government should consider introducing welldesigned tax measures related to the use of fossil fuels in the energy and transport sectors, and to the use of water. The benefits of these measures could be significant, including the broadening of Hong Kong’s tax base, a reduction of taxes on desirable economic activity, enhancement of Hong Kong’s competitive position in the region, and improvement of the environment. 2. GLOBAL TRENDS The use of tax measures to help address climate change and other environmental factors is increasing worldwide. Carbon taxes have been enacted in several European countries including Ireland and all of the Scandinavian countries, and also in Quebec and British Columbia.2 In 2009, carbon 1 The phrase “green taxation” in this chapter includes not only Pigouvian taxes on negative externalities but all types of tax rules related either directly or indirectly to environmental factors such as emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, waste disposal, the use of water and other natural resources, traffic congestion, aircraft noise, and so on. 2 Pakistan enacted a carbon tax in June 2009 but its implementation has been suspended by the country’s Supreme Court. The UK has a tax called the Climate Change Levy which is imposed on energy use rather than...
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