Environmentally harmful support measures in EU Member States

The topic of environmentally harmful support measures has been regularly debated in recent years, for the reason that a variety of direct and indirect government support measures may be acting as an unintended incentive for environmentally harmful behaviour. This may be impeding achievement of standing environmental policy targets, making it desirable to review current environmentally harmful support measures. To date, the main focus of study has been on the nature and magnitude of environmentally harmful support measures and far less on the scope available for reducing their environmental impact. Every support measure, including those that are environmentally harmful, was initially established for a given purpose or motive. Discontinuation of a given support measure may therefore well have negative economic or social consequences, standing over and against any environmental gains that might be achieved. Against this background DG Environment of the European Commission commissioned CE Delft to execute a study that does not merely review the environmental harmfulness of support measures provided by EU Member States but also provides more insight into the economic, social and environmental consequences that would follow from abolition of such support measures. The study presents the following results:

  1. An overview of potentially environmental harmful support measures provided by EU Member States in 2000 which are still in effect.
  2. A detailed examination of the environmental effects of 10 support measures in the transport, energy, mining and nuclear sectors (ten case studies)
  3. An analysis of the economic and environmental impacts of abolishing those support measures under 2) that were considered to have environmentally harmful effects

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