From taxes to permits? The Norwegian climate policy debate
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- CICERO Reports 
Taxation as an instrument for environmental policy (green taxes) has been a topic of heated debate in Norway for almost 30 years. The subject of environmental taxes has time after time inflamed both policymakers and scholars alike. The suitability of green taxes as a policy instrument was first discussed in the 1970s. The 1980s introduced the idea that income from green taxes would make reductions in other taxes possible: a green tax reform. In the 1990s, the tax discussion boiled down to whether or not all polluters should face the same carbon tax. Lately, however, the discussion around the Kyoto Protocol has led to increased interest around the alternative of introducing a system of tradable emission quotas. Environmental taxation might thus be a declining policy instrument in Norway. This is contrary to recent developments in several other European countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany, and the Netherlands. This paper explores why the idea of a green tax reform never got off the ground in Norway by providing an overview of Norwegian environmental policy in the period from 1972 to early 2000.