The paper deals with the greening of tax systems in the European Union (EU), and reviews the achievements of the Baltic States in relation to greening their tax systems and implementing the sustainable energy development goals set by the EU’s energy policies. Environmental taxes promote sustainable energy development, as they allow internalizing the external costs of atmospheric pollution in the energy sector. Energy production and consumption are a major source classical pollutants and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Almost of the all EU member states (MS) apply pollution taxes as the most important economic tool for mitigating the environmental impacts of various economic activities. Considering the importance of the energy sector in terms of its contributions to total atmospheric emissions in the EU, it is supposed that environmental taxes are important drivers of sustainable energy development. Environmental taxes, as the main tool for the integration of negative externalities that are related to atmospheric pollution, are imposed to create incentives for reducing fossil fuel consumption and switching to renewable energy sources or fuels that have a lower carbon content and thus cause less pollution. The paper presents a comparative assessment of the impact of environmental taxes on sustainable energy development indicators in three selected countries from the Baltic region (Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia) during the period 2005–2015, and reveals the role that the greening of tax systems has had on implementing sustainable energy development targets in the Baltic States.
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