If the European Union is to achieve its objective of putting its economy onto a low carbon path, it must speed up the process, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) stated in its own initiative opinion adopted on 25 March. This transformation will have to include a major expansion in renewable energy generation and substantial phasing down of coal. Swifter progress can be achieved through a combination of a clear, efficient regulatory framework and market-based instruments, such as environmental taxes.
Market-based instruments aim to set a price for environmentally polluting economic activities, in accordance with the "polluter pays principle", so as to reveal the true cost of production and consumption and reward resource-efficiency and sustainable behaviour. Environmental fiscal reform is shifting taxation away from labour towards resource use. As a result, it can correct market failures, improve economic efficiency, help develop new industries that provide sustainable and local jobs and create a clear, predictable environment for eco-innovative investments.
The complete press release from the European Economic and Social Committee - CES/14/25 25/03/2014 is available here: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_CES-14-25_en.pdf