As Luxembourg plans for economic recovery, it would be a mistake to sideline the environment, said the OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. “I would rather argue that in responding to the crisis, environment should be part of a comprehensive strategy to relaunch economic growth and to restructure the economy.”
The wealthiest country in the OECD, Luxembourg produces more CO2 per capita than any other OECD country, and more municipal waste than most. The OECD Environmental Performance Review of Luxembourg also points out that at least 40% of surface water in Luxembourg may not meet the 2015 European water target for chemical and biological quality.
Despite its goal to cut emissions by 28%, Luxembourg produced the same amount of greenhouse gases in 2007 as in 1990. The review notes that the rapid increase of CO2 emissions over the past decade is mainly due to road transport. Luxembourg’s low gasoline and diesel prices encourage ”gas pump tourism”. The review recommends that Luxembourg increase fuel taxes as part of green tax reform to bring the prices at the pump in line with neighbouring countries.
In addition to recommendations for Luxembourg to improve its environment, the review commends significant achievements in reducing key air pollutants - sulphur oxides and nitrous oxides - relative to the country’s rapid economic growth up to 2008.
The review also notes Luxembourg’s strong commitment to development co-operation. In 2008, the country’s Official Development Assistance reached 0.97% of GDP. With about 8% of that aid earmarked for environment, Luxembourg is well placed to support developing country efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
Launching the new OECD report with Luxembourg’s minister for sustainable development, Claude Wiseler, Gurría said that Luxembourg needs “a new environmental vision that shows how the environment can stimulate and support economic activity.” He suggested that the French experience with “Le Grenelle Environnement” could be an inspiring model for mobilising public opinion in favour of a national environment plan.
For more on OECD work on Luxembourg, see www.oecd.org/Luxembourg
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