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OECD: waste at heart of climate strategy

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Developments (OECD) has put the waste sector at the heart of an affordable strategy to prevent potentially disastrous environmental and economic problems caused by climate change.

Under current government policies worldwide, global greenhouse gases may grow 37% by 2030, and 52% by 2050, warned the OECDs 2008 Environmental Outlook report. However, it claims that the global economy need only adopt policies costing 1% of GDP to cut key air pollutants by about 33% and limit greenhouse gas emissions growth to 12%.

Waste charges, green taxes, eco-labeling and polluter-pay systems are named as priority actions within a recommended policy mix, which should be heavily based on economic and market-based instruments to keep costs down, said the Paris-based global think-tank.

It also called for more stringent standards in building construction, partly to reduce waste and hence improve energy efficiency. Generally, said OECD secretary-general Angel Gurría at the report launch in Oslo, governments should tax wasteful practices: Policies should focus on pricing the bad, rather than on subsidising the good.

More specifically, assessing the worlds current record on waste management, the OECD report there are serious problems as regards hazardous waste management and transportation; waste management in developing countries; plus the leaching of chemicals into the environment and their use in products.

These are global environmental issues which are not well managed, are in a bad or worsening state, and which require urgent attention, concluded the OECD. As for municipal waste generation and developing country emissions of CFCs, the OECD concluded these issues remain a challenge, with management either improving, or starting to decline having been well handled in the past. However, waste management in rich OECD member countries was well managed in general, it admitted, and where there have been problems, significant improvements have been made in recent years.

Click here to see the report


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