Green tariffs

Published: Thursday 15 February 1996

-- WITH the world's environment in a fragile state, an environment tax, if introduced, could take the world through a process of sustained economic and environmental development, say the authors of the State of the World 1996, a report released by the Washington -based think-tank- World Watch Institute on January 14.

The environment tax should take the place of income tax and could reverse the trends that are leading to hotter summers, falling water tables, continuing deforestation, accelerating extinction of species and rising food prices. The report also calls for a ban on subsidies promoting destructive activities like mining, over-fishing and fossilfuel banking.

"Today's tax system was designed at a time when renewable resources, such as fresh water, forest products and sea-food, far exceeded human needs and when pollution was negligible," says Lestor R Brown, senior author of the report. But the changed scenario today calls for a renewed look into the old system and also to seek a change in tax policies to benefit the environment.

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