Subsidies in the form of tax incentives are and have been a popular policy choice of governments providing financial support for the development and promotion of new technologies. This thesis concentrates on the introduction of direct corporate tax incentives for the development and increased use of renewable energy resources in light of Kyoto Protocol obligations.
Although tax incentives provided for the development of renewable energy resources can have positive results in light of Kyoto Protocol obligations, the provision of such incentives is not without restrictions. This thesis examines the tenuous relationship between environmental protection, tax and trade by examining whether direct tax incentives currently in place in six countries (Ireland, the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium, Canada and New Zealand) are in line with EU and WTO obligations.
EU State aid rules restrict the provision of subsidies by Member States and thus the compatibility of the case study tax incentives with the EU legal environment is explored in this thesis. The examination of the WTO rules on subsidies and the consistency of the case study tax incentives with those rules is explored in-depth. In this book, suggestions are made for positive changes to be made to the current WTO legal regime creating room for environmentally-motivated subsidies such as those in place in the case study countries for the development of renewable energy.