Golden Gate University Environmental Law Journal


This Comment explores policy developments in the United States, Netherlands, and Japan, and identifies elements possessed by the most successful environmental tax schemes: simplicity, cost-effectiveness, and culture-specificity. These countries offer a diverse view of Western and Eastern culture and tax paradigms. Each country has a distinct way of managing taxes while implementing programs that encourage environmental reform. Additionally, the culture in each country is unique, making tax implementations and management particular to each.

In Part II, this Comment addresses the historical development of Green Building and Energy efficiency globally and in the United States, the Netherlands, and Japan. Part III analyzes the impact of cost, complexity, and culture on environmental tax incentives. The cost of a program is one of the most important elements in an environmental tax regime. The cost of the program must not be too high because the government should feel comfortable having the program last indefinitely without stifling the economy. The complexity of the program must also be minimal so that any consumer or corporation can participate. Finally, participation depends on citizens' attitude toward tax implementation, which is in part a product of the characteristics of their particular culture. To be successful in the United States capitalistic culture, ideal tax incentive schemes must reflect low government and consumer costs, and seamlessly integrate a straightforward administrative process.