Economic Instruments in Chemicals Policy

Past Experiences and Prospects for Future Use

image of Economic Instruments in Chemicals Policy

This report investigates the potential for increased use of economic instruments, not the least taxes and charges, in chemcials policy. It provides a conceptual discussion of the role of different market-based instruments in controlling pollution based on chemicals production and use, and outlines a comprehensive overview and analysis of the European experiences of taxes and charges in chemicals policy during the last decades. A final chapter evaluates a set of carefully selected economic instruments targeted at specific chemical compounds and products. The cases have been chosen so as to illustrate different types of challenges in relying more extensively on economic instruments in chemicals policy, and they include the use of: (a) different types of two-stroke oils, (b) the substance nonylphenol (NP) and its ethoxylates (NPEs), which break down into NPs, and (c) ethylene glycol. The report has been commissioned by the Working Group on Environment and Economics under the Nordic Council of Ministers.



The political economy of environmental management in chemicals policy

Economic instruments targeted at chemical compounds and products are often perceived controversial, and traditionally the use of chemicals has mainly been subject to command-and-control regulations (including bans) and information-based policy instruments. In the introduction to this report, though, we noted that during the last decade the policy interest in environmental taxes on chemical compounds has increased. Nevertheless, the present policy suggestions are still strongly characterized by traditional regulations.


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