Edited by Richard Cullen, Jefferson VanderWolk and Yan Xu
Chapter 10: Concluding Thoughts: A Greener Future?
Jefferson VanderWolk The information presented in the foregoing chapters might easily be interpreted negatively, feeding the pessimism of cynics who search, apparently in vain, for signs that the human race – or more precisely the world’s governments – will act effectively to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions before it is too late to prevent a global environmental catastrophe. Can green taxation in East Asia make a difference? The history of the various efforts made in recent decades to use tax measures to reduce GHG emissions in countries in Europe and North America, and more recently in Australia and New Zealand, is hardly encouraging. Tax impositions on the use of fossil fuels, and also tax subsidies for investment in environmentally friendly plant and equipment, appear to have done little or nothing to prevent steady growth in per capita carbon emissions in certain industrialized countries such as Canada, the United States and Australia (although the experience in northern European countries is somewhat more encouraging).1 Now that China and other Asian countries have become leading For example, researchers have concluded that if the Swedish tax system in 1990 had remained unchanged, Sweden would have produced 20 per cent more CO2 than the current level. Its sulphur tax also helped reduce SO2, NOx and CO2 emissions by 94 per cent, 20 per cent and 54 per cent respectively, compared with 1970 levels. Between 1990 and 2006, CO2 emissions in Sweden dropped by 9 per cent while GDP increased by 44 per cent. In Denmark, sulphur...
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