Published Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Evaluating international experiences with environmental tax reform 

Environmental tax reforms (ETR) were first launched in the early 1990s among a small number of European countries as a means to address environmental, economic and social objectives. In recent years a number of other countries and regions have introduced some form of ETR, including in particular carbon and energy tax reforms, with even more countries planning or considering such reforms in the near future. Switzerland is currently reviewing its carbon and energy taxes to contribute to its 2050 Energy Strategy which includes a commitment to phase-out nuclear energy as well as wider objectives relating to climate change and energy.

This study by IEEP seeks to inform preparations in Switzerland by providing an overview of experiences with carbon and energy taxes in Australia, British Columbia in Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The study also briefly discusses plans to introduce carbon taxes in the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. Through this examination of international experiences, this study aims to provide insights on key issues relating to the introduction and implementation of carbon and energy taxes, including the design of taxes, their environmental effectiveness, economic and social impacts.