To meet the global challenge of climate change and the threat it poses to our natural environment, governments have no choice but to use all the instruments they have at their disposal: regulation, command and control, environmental agreements, and even campaigns calling on the public to make voluntary changes to their lifestyles.
After more than thirty years of in-depth experience with numerous instruments one thing is certain: nothing is as effective, efficient and stimulates innovation as well as market-based instruments for environmental policy, particularly when one's goal is to change the behaviour of a large number of businesses or citizens. No other instrument unites the dual goals of sustainable development and economic competitiveness. Economic environmental policy is the guarantor of green growth.
Our most important current demands, particularly in the German context, are:
- The dismantling of environmentally harmful subsidies and tax exemptions;
- The further development of a well-designed Environmental Tax Reform as the core element of a wider Environmental Fiscal Reform (ETR/EFR) geared towards the achievement of long-term environmental goals, while at the same time maintaining international competitiveness;
- Top priority must be the dismantling of all tax privileges for air travel, e.g. by introducing Air Ticket Tax and/or kerosene tax on domestic flights and flights within the European Union;
- The extension of the EU Emission Trading scheme to include other sectors (e.g. air traffic), more restricted certificate allocation, and auctioning of emission certificates.
We are open and prepared to compromise as regards the use of revenues raised by these measures. One possibility we very much support is the recycling of revenue, returning it to taxpayers and citizens by means of tax cuts and social insurance payments, or by way of an individual eco- or climate-bonus. We also believe that some of the revenues should be used for environmental projects.