“Improving the environment destroying the economy? It is simply not true”, Ekins says

Development Policy11 Jun 2010Bas de Leeuw

Paul Ekins said an environmental tax reform is necessary to achieve the goals of eco efficiency. He stressed that this would be a tax shift, not a tax increase.

His research has shown that six EU countries (Denmark, Finland, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden and the UK) have already implemented environmental tax reforms. Economic impacts have been generally positive, effects on industrial competiiveness have been minimal. Energy demand and emissions have been reduced.

“The mindset with policy makers,” he said , “is still overwhelmingly that improving the environment is destroying the economy. Well, this is simply not true. ”

Politics is difficult, he added. Scientists need to develop a compelling narrative to influence public debate.

“It is not a technology or cost problem”, Ekins said, “We have got the technologies, but they are simply not implemented. People are attached to consumption rather than savings and investements. Changing the political reality is the necessary condition for the adequate mitigation of climate change, which will alone avoid the potentially enormous but still very uncertain costs of adapting to climate events and conditions beyond all kinown human experience.”