Environmental Taxation

Environmental taxes are on the agenda of many developing countries, for both revenue purposes and for meeting countries’ commitments on climate change and sustainable development. 

Carbon taxes are a policy option aimed at curbing carbon-based emissions responsible for climate change, in line with the commitments assumed by countries under the Paris Agreement. Carbon taxes put a price on the emission of greenhouse gases, thereby motivating companies to invest in cleaner technology or switch to more efficient practices. Likewise, consumers may be incentivized to invest in energy efficiency, change their lifestyle habits or, where options are available, switch to cleaner forms of energy. Moreover, additional revenues could be used to invest in sustainable development.

The new UN Handbook on Carbon Taxation for Developing Countries responds to country demand for clearer practical guidance on policy and administrative aspects of designing and implementing such a tax. The Handbook outlines some of the common reasons why countries might want to introduce a carbon tax and provides options for policy design and administration targeted to the different needs and priorities of countries. It is meant as a practical guide, and it contains many real-world examples and practical tools.

The UN Handbook on Carbon Taxation is product of the UN Tax Committee and its multi-stakeholder subcommittee, supported by its Secretariat in the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. The Committee initiated work on environmental taxation in 2017, starting with a focus on carbon taxation.


UN Handbook on Carbon Taxation for Developing Countries (2021)

UN DESA capacity development workshops

·   UN Virtual Workshop on the Handbook on Carbon Taxation (2020)