Lester Brown (Pioneer Environmentalist)

'Tax shifting involves changing the composition of taxes but not the level. It means reducing income taxes and offsetting them with taxes on environmentally destructive activities such as carbon emissions, the generation of toxic waste, the use of virgin raw materials, the use of nonrefillable beverage containers, mercury emissions, the generation of garbage, the use of pesticides, and the use of throwaway products. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it does include the more important activities that should be discouraged by taxing. There is wide agreement among environmental scientists on the kinds of activities that need to be taxed more.'

From: Brown, L.R. (2001) Eco-Economy: Building an Economy for the Earth. W. W. Norton & Company, NY.


'In a troubled world economy, where many governments are facing fiscal deficits, these proposed tax and subsidy shifts can help balance the books, create additional jobs, and save the economy’s eco-supports. Tax and subsidy shifting promise energy efficiency, cuts in carbon emissions, and reductions in environmental destruction—a win-win-win situation.'

‘Some 2,500 economists, including eight Nobel Prize winners in economics, have endorsed the concept of tax shifts. Harvard economics professor N. Gregory Mankiw wrote in Fortune magazine: “Cutting income taxes while increasing gasoline taxes would lead to more rapid economic growth, less traffic congestion, safer roads, and reduced risk of global warming - all without jeopardizing long-term fiscal solvency. This may be the closest thing to a free lunch that economics has to offer.’

From: Brown, L.R. (2008) Plan B 3.0: Mobilising to Save Civilization. W.W. Norton & Company, NY.