The Environmental Dividend: Greening in Times of Populism
Environmental taxes advocated by Green parties such as road pricing give rise to social resistance and populist criticism. There is, however, a response to the mistrust of green taxation. Richard Wouters explores the potential of the environmental dividend to drum up support for much needed but controversial green taxes.
During the 2017 election campaign in the Netherlands, GroenLinks, the Dutch Green party, came under attack from other parties because of the numerous environmental taxes in their programme. The leader of the social-liberal Democrats 66 (D66) party, Alexander Pechtold, did not shy away from populist exaggeration: “You abolish the deductible in healthcare, but let people pay it in another way by introducing seven new taxes”, he accused GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver in a television debate. Klaver was also reproached by Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) leader Sybrand van Haersma Buma during the closing debate: “Those taxes on packaging, on cars, on houses, they will really hurt people.” [...]