Environmental Policy

List Of The Committee Members Of Research Panel_Chapter 1


1-1 ACTUAL SITUATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL TAXES IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES (mainly carbon tax, or carbon / energy tax)

a Situations of introduction of carbon tax in North Europe

(a) Finland

In Finland, carbon tax was introduced in 1990, for the first time in the world. As the carbon tax in Finland was introduced by the reform of "fuel tax law", taxation on fuel is composed of traditional "basic tax" relating to energy and "carbon tax'1 newly introduced. Carbon tax began at low rate initially, but the rate was raised gradually later. In 1994, carbon tax was changed to carbon / energy tax with the rate of carbon and energy "3 to 1." In 1997, carbon / energy tax system was reformed substantially, and the present carbon tax system is as follows.

(Object of taxation)
The object of taxation is the all kinds of fossil fuels, such as gasoline, light fue1 oil, heavy fuel oil, diesel oil, natural gas, coal and peat etc., but fuel for generation is tax exemption.

(Tax rate)
Tax rate of carbon tax is 260 Mk (Finland Markka) /tC (about 6,500 yen/tC). As it was 26 Mk/tC at the time of introduction of carbon tax, it became tenfold increase compared with the initial rate, and it was raised step-by-step.
And, fuel for generation is tax exemption but, energy tax for electricity consumption is established, which is set at 31 Mk/MWh. This energy tax for electricity consumption adopted 54% of reduction tax rate for mining industry, manufacturing industry and greenhouse agriculture. Tax rate for each fuel is shown in Table 1.

(Purpose of taxation)
The purposes of taxation are so-called incentive effects, such as saving of fuel for reduction of carbon dioxide emission, promotion of save-energy investment and promotion of substitution to low carbon intensive products, and all tax revenue is dealt as general funds. The tax rate of carbon tax is raised by tax system reformation in 1997, and then, income tax was reduced at the same time. This information tax system "Green tax system reform" (refer to 1 - 3).

(Mitigation measures and tax exemption)
Fuels for oil refining, generation, and airplanes and vessels operating overseas and petroleum used as a law material are tax exemption.
As for reduction,

  • [1]reduction rate of 4.2 Mk/MWh for peat,
  • [2]reduction rate of 50% (0.071 Mk/Sm3) for natural gas from 1995 to the end of 1997 are approved.
Table 1: Tax rate of basic tax and carbon tax imposed on fuel as of 1997
Basic taxCarbon tax
Unleaded gasoline 2.969 Mk/l 0.164 Mk/l
Leaded gasoline 3.419 Mk/l 0.164 Mk/l
Diesel fuel 1.599 Mk/l 0.186 Mk/l
Light fuel oil 0.104 Mk/l 0.186 Mk/l
Heavy oil - 0.221 Mk/kg
Coal - 0.169 Mk/kg
Peat - 4.200 Mk/Mwh
Natural gas - 0.142 Mk/sm3
Electricity consumption
1(domestic and service) - 31.000 Mk/Mwh
2(mining industry and manufacturing industry) - 16.750 Mk/Mwh
Pine fuel 0.221 Mk/l -

The reformed points of carbon and energy tax system in 1997 are as follows;

  • [1] Increase of carbon tax
  • [2] Abolition of carbon tax imposed on fuels for generation
  • [3] Abolition of energy taxes (3.5 Mk/MWh) imposed with carbon tax
  • [4] Introduction of energy taxes on consumption of electricity
  • [5] Introduction of carbon tax when peat is used for heat formation.
(b) Denmark

In Denmark, CO2 taxes has already been introduced since 1993. However, tax system was reformed in 1996, and in addition to the traditional CO2 taxes, more comprehensive and new environment and energy taxes were introduced, which was composed of the establishment of CO2 and energy taxes, SO2 taxes, natural gas taxes, battery surcharge, chlorine solvent taxes and agricultural chemicals taxes and the increase of gasoline taxes.
The present CO2 tax system (including CO2 / energy tax) are Shown as follows.

(Object of taxation)
The object of taxation are light fuel oil, heavy oil, diesel oil, LPG, coal and residual fuel, and CO2 tax is imposed on all of CO2 emitting origin except for gasoline, natural gas and bio fuel.
As for gasoline, gasoline tax is imposed, and as for natural gas, natural gas tax is imposed, respectively.

(Tax rate)
The tax rate of CO2 tax is 100 Dkr (Denmark Krone) /t CO2 (about 7,000 yen/tC), which has not changed since introduced. Reductive tax rate of 50% (50 DKr/t CO2) was adopted to industrial sections 80 far, but it was reformed drastically by the reformation of tax system in 1996. Especially for room heating in industrial sections, CO2 / energy tax is imposed, whose rate is higher than that of CO2 tax. It is decided that the tax rate will be raised step-by-step every year from 200 DKr/t CO2 (about 14,000 yen/tC) in 1996 to 6000 DKr/t CO2 (about 41,800 yen/tC) in 2000.
As for CO2 tax on fuels used in production process of industrial sections, certain reductive tax rates were established according to the energy consumption of the production process, or depending on the presence of save-energy investment agreement with the administrative office. (For details, refer to the following "reductive measures'' and Table 2)

(Purpose of taxation and the purpose for which tax revenue is spent)
The purpose of taxation is so-called incentive effects, such as fuel saving for reduction of carbon dioxide emission, promotion of save-energy investment and promotion of substitution to low carbon intensive products.
As taxation of CO2 tax and CO2 /energy tax is not aimed at the increase of revenue, tax revenue is used for

  • [1]utilization of incentive toward save-energy investment,
  • [2]reduction of the load of social security of companies,
  • [3]subsidy to small and medium entrepreneurs, under the basic principle that all tax revenue would be restored.

(Mitigation measures, tax exemption measures and others)
As for energy consumption in the production process of industrial sections, the production process is separated heavy process using much energy consumption from light process using little energy consumption, and a certain reductive tax rate is adopted to the heavy process.
If a company makes an agreement to make certain save-energy investment with the administrative office and implement it, it can also use the system by which more reductive tax rate is adopted_ The concrete reductive rate is shown in Table 2.
As for tax exemption measures, fuel for generation and petroleum used as a law material are tax-exempted. While fuel for generation is tax-exempted, CO2 tax is imposed on consumption of electricity. This is partly because Denmark exports electricity.
In addition, CO2 tax is exempted from gasoline, natural gas and biofuels, however, gasoline tax is imposed on gasoline and natural gas tax is imposed on natural gas.

Table 2: CO2 tax and CO2 / energy tax on industrial sections and their reductive tax rate
Room heating (CO2 / energy tax) 200 400 600 600 600
Light process (CO2 tax)
Without agreement 50 60 70 80 90
With agreement 50 50 50 58 68
Heavy process (CO2 tax)
Without agreement 5 10 15 20 25
With agreement 3 3 3 3 3
(c) Netherlands

In Netherlands in 1992, instead of the former general environmental charge, fuel environmental tax (carbon tax) was introduced, with taxation basis 50% for energy and 50% for carbon. The present taxation system of fuel environmental tax (carbon tax) is shown as follows.

(Object of taxation)
The object of taxation is the whole fossil fuels, such as gasoline, light fuel oil, heavy oil, diesel oil, natural gas, coal or residual fuel. As the taxation basis is 50% for energy and 50% for carbon, the tax is imposed on energy generated from the above fossil fuels.

(Tax rate)
Taxation basis is composed of 50% for both carbon and energy. The tax rates are 5.16 DGL (Dutch Guilder) /t CO2, for carbon and 0.3906 DGL/GJ far energy. For example, the tax rate on gasoline is estimated about 39 DGL/tC (about 2,600 yen /tC).

(Purpose of taxation)
The purpose of taxation is incentive effects for carbon dioxide emission control. The tax revenue was used as special funds far environment protection, but it has been dealt as general fund since 1992. The cost relating to environmental measures is disbursed from general fund.

(Mitigation measures, tax exemption measures)
The residual fuel less than certain amount and all the residual fuel for domestic consumption are tax-exempted, and as for all of residual fuel other than those, those for energy are tax-exempted. Fuels for petroleum refining are also tax-exempted.
As for reduction measures, to ease the tax load of energy intensive industry, if natural gas is massively consumed (more than 10 thousand m3/year), tax rate is reduced by 58%. This reduction measure is taken not on carbon but energy, so that the tax is only 0.16 DGL/GJ, while energy tax is 0.39 DGL/GJ without the measure.
Reduction measures and tax exemption measures for fuel environmental tax (carbon tax) in Netherlands are relatively low in number, partly because the taxation level is lower than carbon tax of other countries.

<Energy regulatory tax (Netherlands)>
In 1996, energy regulatory tax was introduced, imposed mainly on small lot energy consumers. This tax has the purpose to control the generation of carbon dioxide as well as to change the object of taxation from income based on capital and labor to use of environment. The object of taxation is limited to the small lot energy consumers to prevent the large energy consumers including international competitive industries from paying too much taxes.
The present taxation system of energy regulatory tax is shown below.

(Transition of rate of energy regulatory tax )

  • 1996 Carbon : 9 DGL/t CO2, Energy : 0.502 DGL/GJ
  • 1997 Carbon :18 DGL/t CO2, Energy : 1.004 DGL/GJ
  • 1998 Carbon :27 DGL/t CO2, Energy : 1.506 DGL/GJ

(Object of taxation)
The objects of taxation are natural gas, LPG, light fuel oil for heating, electricity consumption.
Concretely, it is adopted to households and small come under the following Standards.

  • [1] Electricity consumption: more than 50 MWh/year
  • [2] Natural gas consumption: more than 170,000 m3/year
  • [3] Light fuel oil consumption : more than 159,000 liter/year
  • [4] LPG consumption : more than 190,000 kg/year

(Reduction measures, Tax exemption measures)
Fuels for industrial section, local heating system, cogeneration, greenhouse floriculture are tax-exempted.

(d) Norway

In Norway, carbon tax was introduced in 1991. The carbon tax was imposed by additioning of the former energy tax. There was no large-scale tax system reformation in introducing the carbon tax, decrease of income tax was conducted at the same time from the point of view of considering the burden of taxes of the people.
The present carbon tax system in Norway is shown below.

(Object of taxation)
The objects of taxation are gasoline, light fuel oil, heavy oil, diesel oil, natural gas, and gas burned in the oil field in the North Sea, added by coal and coke for fuel in 1992.

(Tax rate)
The tax rate varies, depending on fuels, from 676 NKr (Norway Krone) /tC (about 12,800 Yen/tC) to 1,350 NKr/tC (about 25,600 yen/tC), and rose every year until 1997. As for other energy taxes, that on mineral oil was reduced in 1992 mainly for protection of the industry, but to offset this, gasoline tax was increased.
Rates of carbon tax by fuels are shown in Table 3.

Table 3: Carbon tax rates in Norway in 1996 and 1997 (by fuels)
Gasoline 0.850 Nkr/l 0.870 Nkr/l
Mineral oil (heavy oil and light fuel oil etc.) 0.425 Nkr/l 0.435 Nkr/l
Natural 0.850 Nkr/Nm3 0.870 Nkr/Nm3
Coal 0.425 Nkr/kg 0.435 Nkr/kg

(Purpose of taxation)
The purpose of taxation is incentive effects to reduce carbon dioxide emission, and all of tax revenue is used as general account.

(Reduction measures, Tax exemption measures)
Coal and coke as industrial law material and used for cement and lime industries are tax-exempted. Addition to those, mineral oil used as fuel for vessel and airplanes for international trade and fuel used for petroleum fining are tax-exempted.
As for reduction measures, the rate of carbon tax in the mainland is 50% of the rate in the oil field in the North Sea. And 50% of reduction rate is adopted to pulp, cement, fish meal industries. In addition, there is a refund measure for fuels far fishing boats and coastwise vessels so that they are tax-exempted substantially.

(e) Sweden

In Sweden, as a part of comprehensive reformation of tax system, carbon tax and energy and value added taxes were introduced in 1991, and at the same time, the existing energy tax was reduced.
The present carbon tax system in Sweden is shown below.

(Object of taxation)
The objects of taxation are the whole fossil fuels, such as gasoline, light fuel oil, heavy oil, diesel oil, LPG, natural gas or coal, but fuel for generation is exempted.

(Tax rate)
Carbon tax was increased in 1993, and since then it has risen every year. As of 1996, it was 370 (Sweden Krone) Skr/t CO2 (about 22,000 yen/tC), and it is to be increased to 380 Skr/t CO2 in 1997.

(Purpose of taxation)
The purpose of taxation is incentive effects to reduce carbon dioxide emission, and the tax revenue is dealt as general account.

(Reduction measures, tax exemption measures)
As for industrial sections, the tax was introduced with 25% of reductive tax rate of other sections, and the existing energy tax on industrial and floriculture sections became zero. It was decided that the reductive rate was not adopted to fuels for automobiles, buses and trucks, including those used by industrial sections.
However, carbon tax on industrial section was doubled (50% of the rate without reduction: 185 Skr/t CO2) in 1997.
Coal and coke used in iron manufacturing process, fuels for locomotives and vessels and airplanes engaged in international trade, and fuel for generation are tax exempted.

(f) Comparison of carbon tax of each country

As described in the above, carbon tax systems of five countries of North Europe are not the same, and there are various characteristics in object of taxation, purpose of taxation, tax rate or reduction measures.

(Object of taxation)
The objects of taxation are fossil fuel or electricity consumption as a whole. The relationships with the existing energy taxes differ by countries. For example, some countries introduced carbon tax, reducing the existing energy taxes to ease the burden (Sweden and Denmark), others added it to the existing energy taxes (Finland, Netherlands).

(Purpose of taxation)
The purpose of the introduction of carbon tax is to reduce carbon dioxide emission by incentive effects in all countries. These days, from the point of view of ''Green tax reform," there is a country who is trying to utilize the increase of revenue by environmental tax for the reduction of income tax and to increase employment in addition to environmental effects.

(Tax rate)
The tax rate differs in a large scale from countries.
This is because there is a difference in the degree to what extent each country aims to reduce CO2 by carbon tax and because the CO2, reducing effects by carbon tax differs in countries. Differences of carbon tax rates are also influenced by the difference of the existing energy tax system, such that energy tax of high rate and value added tax are imposed other than carbon tax, or the difference of construction of carbon tax itself, such as object of taxation.
The tax payment imposed on energy for industrial heavy fuel oil and gasoline of the five countries introducing carbon tax and Japan are shown in Table 4 and 5. Not to mention gasoline, even for the industrial heavy fuel oils which have much reductions of carbon tax rate, total tax rate in countries introducing carbon tax is higher, than that in Japan.

Table 4:Comparison of tax payment structure of industrial heavy oil in each country (1995)
Excise taxCarbon taxTotal
Denmark 0.22 0.04 0.26
Finland 0.01 0.03 0.04
Netherlands 0.02 0.02 0.04
Norway 0.09 0.06 0.15
Sweden 0.08 0.13 0.21
Japan 0.03 - 0.03

(Note)Dkr= 19yen, FMK=25yen, DGL=66yen, Nkr= 19yen, Skr= 16yen, USS= 124yen (Exchange rate aS of March 31, 1997)

Table 5 : Comparison of tax payment structure of gasoline in each country (1995)
Excise taxCarbon taxTotal
Denmark 0.57 - 0.57
Finland 0.70 0.02 0.72
Netherlands 0.73 0.01 0.74
Norway 0.79 0.12 0.91
Sweden 0.63 0.10 0.73
Japan 0.49 - 0.49

(Note) (Exchange rate as of March 31, 1997)

(Mitigation measures)
In North European countries introducing carbon tax precedingly, considering the situation that there are not many countries, introducing carbon tax among the developed countries which often become the competitors for industry and trade, mitigation measures are taken in various ways according to the individual situation of each country.

b Reviewing situation in EU

In EU, carbon / energy tax have been reviewed from the era of former European Community (EC).
In EC, EC Committee adopted the council directive order relating to the introduction of carbon / energy tax which is common among participants in 1992, but the opinions of each country did not agree with each other in the council/.
The objects of the taxation in the directive order were all of energy sources except for specified regenerative energies (sun light, biomass, wind power etc.), but as a special measure, tax exemption or mitigation measures were established for energy mass-consuming industry.
As for tax rate, carbon tax was set to 2.81 ECU/t CO2 (1,500 yen/tC) and energy tax, 0.21 ECU/GJ (30 yen/GJ), but member nations of EU can establish the rate of carbon/energy tax of its own country higher than the above rate.
After that, the European Committee submitted the modification of EC directive order in 1995. In the modification, with maintaining the last aim of compulsory introduction of carbon / energy tax common among member countries, shifting period until 2000 is established, and during that time, introduction of the tax was left to wide range of discretion of each country. As for this matter, common items of each country (object of taxation, minimum tax rate, tax revenue neutrality etc.) are being reviewed mainly by EU board of economical and financial ministers, as well as the utilization of the existing energy tax is reviewed in European Committee. The European Committee made an agreement at committee level in March, 1997 about the proposition of energy tax directive order about establishment of the minimum tax rate of all energy products, such as petroleum, coal, electricity and gas, at EU level and its step-by-step increase.
Other than EU, introduction of carbon tax is considered in Switzerland and New Zealand.


Effects of carbon tax in Sweden

In December, 1995, Natural Protection Agency made a report about the evaluation of carbon tax. According to this report, emission of CO2 has decreased by 8,000 Kt, (19% of the whole emission,) from 1987 to 1994.
And according to the research in this report, about 60% of the reduction of CO2 emission was gained by the introduction of carbon tax, and the remaining 40% was brought by the improvement of energy efficiency and intensiveness of local heating.
The causes of reduction of CO2 emission by sector are shown below.

(Local heating)

Local heating was most influenced by carbon tax, and the fuel construction have changed drastically, such as the transition from fossil fuel to bio fuel. Electricity production by cogeneration of high total energy efficiency for which electric power and heating plant are used has increased in a large scale from 2.5 TWh to 4.0 TWh.
Carbon tax on fuel for cogeneration is exempted. As an indirect effect of carbon tax, improvement of energy efficiency and intensiveness of local heating were strengthened because owner of apartments gave prominence to the cost reduction and environment.
Weather condition has also related to CO2 emission. Though it was so cold in 1987 that the petroleum heating reached its peak, it was comparatively warm in 1994.
As a result, the total amount of energy use was 36 TWh and there was no change, but CO2 emission was reduced by 28% because of fuel transition and cogeneration etc.

(Industrial sector)

As for industrial sector, because of the reform of energy tax and CO2 tax in 1993, tax was drastically reduced for industrial section, and drastically increased for consuming section. Though energy use amount was 141 TWh, which has not changed, the amount of production has increased by 11%. In other words, energy use efficiency has improved by 11% compared with the amount of production. Accompanied by this, CO2 emission was reduced by10%.

(Housing-related sector)

As for housing-related sector, the effect of the introduction of carbon tax was not so big as that of the local heating. The increase of the price by introduction of carbon tax was within the normal level of petroleum price, and was about 0.5% of the rent. The amount of energy use was increased by 5% as a whole, from 90 TWh to 95 TWh.
Energy efficiency of homes and apartments were improved by 1% and 6% respectively, and halls and others were also improved a little. Emission of CO2 was reduced by 12%, 45% and 32% for homes, apartments and halls, respectively, and it was decreased by 28% for the whole housing-related sector.

Table 6: Contribution to reduction of CO2 by fields in Sweden
FieldsReduced amount (Kt)Reduced rate (%)1987 Emission (Kt)1994 Emission (Kt)
Local heating 2,600 27.7 9,400 6,800
Industry 2,000 10.0 20,000 18,000
Home 600 12.2 4,900 4,300
Apartment 1,500 45.5 3,300 1,800
Hall etc. 1,300 32.5 4,000 2,700
Total 8,000 19.2 41,600 33,600

(Note)Hall etc. means offices, hotels, restaurants, government offices, hospital and others.

Table 7: Causes and size of effects influenced on CO2 emission
CausedSize of effects
Carbon tax big
Use of natural gas not a few
Weather conditions not a few
Business upturn increase the emission
Energy price small
Environmental consciousness of enterprises not a few
Improvement of efficiency of energy use not a few
Increase of heating area increase the emission
Improvement of management of real property not a few

(Source) Report of Natural Preservation

Effects of carbon tax in Norway

According to the survey of Norway Central Statistics Bureau, because of the introduction of carbon tax, CO emission from the fixed emitting source, such as factories and unfixed emitting source, such as automobiles, was reduced. CO2 emission from both of these sections occupy 25% of the whole Norway, and CO2 emissions from these from 1991 to 1993 has decreased by 3 to 4% (300,000 CO2t) every year by imposing carbon tax. According to the survey, it is estimated that if the price of fossil fuel increases by 10%, CO2 emission from the Said sections were reduced by 2 to 4%.
Additionally, growth rate of petroleum industry in Norway from 1989 to 1992 reached 30%, and CO2 emission from the industry occupied 20% of the whole Norway. However, CO2 emission from the industry has increased only by 10%. According to the research of Economical Analysis Center, because of introduction of carbon tax, carbon intensiveness of petroleum industry has decreased by 15% from 1991 to 1992.


Since the establishment of the Environmental Committee, OECD has conducted research on the use of economic instruments in environmental policies. Following the two Recommendation relating to the principle of PPP ( polluter - pays - principle ) in 1972 and 1974, use and its potential role of economic instruments were analyzed in many reports and publishings. Some of the Council Recommendation and OECD Ministry declarations require the use of economic instruments to control pollution especially in the field of water, wastes and noise.
Since latter half of 1980s, added by the former pollution problems, global warming, acid rain, decrease of diversity, various hazardous substances and mass waste matter have been paid attention. To solve these various problems, efficient policies are required domestically and internationally.
In OECD Environmental Ministry Meeting held in January, 1991, use of economic instrument, including taxes, were encouraged in the adopted communiqué.

OECD Environmental Ministry Meeting Communiqué (January, 1991)
Ministries welcomed the expansion of the use of economic instrument in OECD countries to attain environmental purposed and supported it strongly. The economic instrument gives the strong incentives to technological innovation and change of behaviors and helps to attain the environmental purposed efficiently compared with the cost, therefore, it is able to be given good view.

In addition, in the meeting, a Recommendation to the member countries on the use of the economic instruments in environmental policy was adopted. In this Recommendation, [1] Environmentally surcharges or taxes, [2] Marketable permit, [3] Deposit refund system and [4] Subsidies were picked up as economic instruments, and it required that it should be used with considering the social and economical situation of each country.

OECD Environmental Ministry Meeting, Advisor opinion to the member countries (January, 199l)
With considering domestic social and economical situations, the economic instrument should be used more widely and more consistently as an extra or substitution for other policies such as regulation.

After that, OECD "Joint-Sessions on Taxation and Environment" arranged various arguing points in introducing environmental taxes and announced the report about the countermeasures against problems in March, 1993.
In January, 1996, "Implementation strategy for environmental taxes" was announced. This report arranges the problems from designing to implementation of environmental taxes and the results of reviewing its conquering measures, by reviewing many cases, especially for case of tax designing and its implementation, international implementation of environmental taxes, effects on distribution and the purpose for which tax revenue is spent.
In addition, the communiqué of Environmental Ministry Meeting held from February 19 to 20, 1996, requested OECD Council to conduct an "advanced research on possibility of environmental (green) tax system reformation, including results of reviewing and advisory opinions" by the spring of 1997. The report reviewed by OECD based on this request, was approved in Ministry Council in May, 1997. In this report, each subjects of green tax reform, the use of the tax revenue, "Eco-taxes and the employment" double dividend, Eco-taxes and inflation, the distributional implications of eco- taxes and trade and competition issues was reviewed.
In this report, Preening of tax system is defined by

"Since the early 1990s, some form of greening of tax systems has taken place in a number of OECD countries. this ranges from the simple introduction of some eco-taxes (such as taxes on fertilizers, packaging, batteries; see Annex ) to more comprehensive and sophisticated green tax reforms involving significant restructuring of taxes and tax shifts. The greening of tax systems involves three complementary approaches, which are briefly reviewed in this section:

  • a removal or modification of existing distortionary subsidies and tax provisions,.
  • a restructuring of existing taxes;
  • the introduction of new eco-taxes."

Additionally, it is defined as follows.

" A "greening" of tax systems (i.e. the integration of environmental concerns into the design of tax systems) can be achieved if existing distortionary direct or indirect taxes, tax provisions and subsidies likely to have negative environmental impacts are identified and removed. Existing taxes can be restructured in an environmentally-friendlier manner (for instance by restructuring energy and transport related taxes which have negative environmental implications); and new eco-taxes, e.g. on polluting products, can be introduced, as appropriate. "

And in conclusion, it is defined that " countries should consider the opportunities and potential for greening their tax systems, according to their specific economic, fiscal and environmental context."

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