An international comparison of the outcomes of environmental regulation

  • Andy Gouldson, Angela Carpenter, Stavros Afionis
  • Environmental Research Letters, July 2014, Institute of Physics Publishing
  • DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/9/7/074019

Refinery benzene emissions in selected OECD countries.

What is it about?

Whilst there is much discussion about the stringency of environmental regulations and the variability of industrial environmental performance in different countries, there are very few robust evaluations that allow meaningful comparisons to be made. This is partly because data scarcity restricts the ability to make 'like for like' comparisons across countries and over time. This paper combines data on benzene emissions from Pollution Release and Transfer Registers with data on industrial production from oil refineries to generate normalized measures of industrial environmental performance across eight Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development countries and the EU-15. We find that normalized emissions levels are improving in nearly all countries, and that there is some convergence in emissions performance between countries, but that there are still very significant variations across countries. We find that average emissions levels are lower in Japan and Germany than in the USA and Australia, which in turn are lower than in Canada and the EU-15, but we note that average emissions in the EU-15 are significantly affected by particularly high emissions in the UK. These findings have significant implications for wider debates on the stringency of environmental regulations and the variability of industrial environmental performance in different countries.

Why is it important?

One of the first paper to discuss refinery benzene emissions relying on Pollution Release and Transfer Registers.

Read Publication

http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/9/7/074019

The following have contributed to this page: Dr Stavros Afionis