Equality among Unequals in International Environmental Law: Differential Treatment for Developing Countries

By Anita Margrethe Halvorssen | Go to book overview

emissions in general. The OPEC countries and fossil fuel producing industries 108 in other countries fear the use of such taxes will give them a comparative disadvantage. Yet these taxes internalize the price of degrading the environment. In addition, they generate resources that can be used for environmental protection measures including pollution control. The taxes also change the behavior of consumers and producers toward more sustainable patterns of consumption.

Suggestions have been made to create an international tax. 109 This has been suggested as a means of ensuring significant and automatic funding of international transfers from industrialized to developing countries to support sustainable development. 110 A tax on carbon, a tax on foreign exchange transactions (the "Tobin Tax"), and a tax on international air transport have been given the most attention. 111

In order to be politically acceptable and economically justified, studies suggest the tax would have to fulfill the following criteria: be introduced as a voluntary scheme, be legislated and collected nationally, use a large base to permit its rates to be low, be levied on activities generating global, negative externalities, most of the revenue being retained by national governments, remaining revenue being allocated to an international financial transfer mechanism, and the allocations being limited to countries participating in the scheme. 112 It seems the carbon tax would be the best candidate according to these criteria. 113

The main drawback with such a tax scheme is that the sovereign right of taxation would be delegated away from national governments and to an international body, which states are reluctant to do. 114 Another problem with the carbon tax is that it does not guarantee the amount of reduction of carbon emissions, which depends on energy consumers and suppliers. 115 Yet, as the tax would be levied on activities that generate global negative externalities, it may be looked upon as an inevitable consequence of the globalization of the economy and rising concern about global environmental degradation. 116


Notes
1.
See Brundtland Commission's Report, supraChapter 1 note 15, at 77. See Agenda 21, supraChapter 1 note 8, ¶ 33.15.
2.
See U.N. CSD, 5th Sess., ¶ 3., U.N. Doc. E/CN/1997/2/ Add.23 (1997).
3.
See Agenda 21, supraChapter 1 note 8, ¶ 33.16.
4.
See discussion supraChapter 5 (in regards to financial assistance: financing implementation of the agreements).
5.
See discussion supraChapter 5 (in regards to joint implementation).

-160-

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Equality among Unequals in International Environmental Law: Differential Treatment for Developing Countries
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Cases vii
  • Major Treaties and Other International Instruments ix
  • Preface xiii
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • Notes 7
  • 2 - Background 11
  • Notes 31
  • 3 - Sustainable Development 41
  • Notes 60
  • 4 - Facilitating the Participation of Developing Countries -- Sources of Conflict Regarding Their Treatment in the International Regulatory Process 67
  • Notes 80
  • 5 - Promoting the Participation of Developing States -- Incentives and Disincentives in Some International Environmental Agreements 85
  • Notes 108
  • 6 - International Institutional Structures 117
  • Notes 139
  • 7 - Special Funding Mechanisms 149
  • Notes 160
  • 8 - The Role of Non-Governmental Organizations (ngos) and Other Major Groups in Promoting Universal Participation 167
  • Notes 177
  • 9 - Conclusion 181
  • Abbreviations and Acronyms 185
  • Selected Bibliography 187
  • Index 195
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