Compensating for the environmental impact of higher economic growth: A scientific analysis of the Dutch policy record

This study examines the interlinkage between economic growth and environmental burden. More specifically, it considers whether higher than projected economic growth should be compensated through temporary upward adjustment of the environment ministry’s budget. As the report details, higher economic growth leads to greater pressure on the environment. In all policy areas where absolute environmental targets are in place that have not (yet) been allocated absolutely to individual sectors, therefore, some form of compensation will be required. This is in fact the situation for a substantial swathe of Dutch environmental policy.

The study also considers some of the methods available for calculating the additional environmental burden accruing from extra economic growth and recommends that this burden be calculated sooner, so that it can be included at an earlier stage of the policy process, as when the so-called ‘com-pensation funds’ were discussed in the Dutch parliament in 2000 and 2001.


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