New Instruments of Environmental Governance? National Experiences and Prospects

New Instruments of Environmental Governance? National Experiences and Prospects

New Instruments of Environmental Governance? National Experiences and Prospects

New Instruments of Environmental Governance? National Experiences and Prospects

Synopsis

"Many highly industrialised countries are rapidly adopting `new' environmental policy instruments (NEPIs) including eco-taxes, tradable permits, voluntary agreements and eco-labels. This apparently profound shift has prompted widespread claims that NEPIs have eclipsed regulation as the preferred tool of environmental policy. This volume offers a fresh perspective on evolving environmental policy by providing a systematic analysis of the politics surrounding the adoption and use of the main NEPIs. Blending state of the art political theories with fresh empirical material, the contributors to this interdisciplinary volume assess the claim that NEPIs are heralding the new era of environmental governance in which the state plays a secondary role in policy-making."

Excerpt

Andrew Jordan, Rüdiger K.W. Wurzel and Anthony R. Zito

The deployment of 'new' environmental policy instruments (NEPIs), namely eco-taxes and other market-based instruments (MBIs), voluntary agreements (VAs) and informational devices such as eco-labels, has grown spectacularly in recent years. in 1987, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) [OECD, 1994:177] reported that most national environmental policies still relied upon a regulatory or 'command and control' mode of action, but since then the number of MBIs has grown 'substantially' [CEC, 2000:2]. Some estimates put the growth in use in oecd countries at over 50 per cent between 1989 and 1995 [CEC,_2000:2]. Daugbjerg and Svendson [2001:3] have estimated that the number of environmental taxes in oecd countries grew from just 30 in 1987 to over 110 in 1997. Environmental taxes are now a mainstay of the national budgeting process, accounting for around seven per cent of total government revenues in 2002.

VAs, too, are becoming much more popular. in 1997, the European Environment Agency (EEA) [EEA, 1997] put the total in the European Union (EU) 15 at around 300, with more and more being signed each year. Outside of France, the Netherlands and to a lesser degree Germany, there were virtually no VAs in use in the early 1970s; most countries relied upon issuing regulations to manage the relationship between society, the economy and the environment. Finally, within the eu 15, the number of industrial sites subject to eco-management and auditing systems(EMAS) has risen from zero to over 4,000 in just six years. emas, a set of voluntary environmental management standards which firms can choose to adopt, gives consumers more environmental information about how industry operates.

The research underpinning this study was undertaken for a project entitled 'Innovation in Environmental Governance: a Comparative Analysis of New Environmental Policy Instruments' which was generously funded by the Economic and Social Research Council's (ESRC) Future Governance Programme under grant number L216252013. For more details see: http://www.uea.ac.uk/env/cserge/research/fut_governance/Home.htm.

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