This report presents the OECD review of Portugal’s environmental policy performance for 2011. It finds that environmental policies have been consolidated and strengthened since the last review in 2001, but that meeting the post-Kyoto targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions will be challenging. With energy and climate policies being closely related, the report points out that with less than 50% of hydro capacity currently being exploited, there is potential for further development in that area. It also describes the challenges regarding coastal zone and marine management.
Topics covered in the report include greening growth, implementation of environmental policies , international co-operation , climate change, waste management and the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), and nature and biodiversity.
Further information about the Environmental Performance Review programme is available on line via www.oecd.org/env/countryreviews.
Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is indispensable for making good decisions on what transport projects to fund. It essentially aims to figure out which projects offer the best value for money. However, the practical relevance of CBA does not always live up to its appeal in principle. One problem is that there is sometimes disagreement over what to include in CBA, both on the cost side and the benefits side of the analysis. As a result, value for money is not always fully transparent. More politically, value for money is only a partial criterion for decision-making, leading to disagreement about the relative importance of the results from CBA compared to other inputs to the decision-making process.
This report examines the extent to which these shortcomings can be addressed. In terms of what to include in CBA, discussion focuses on equity and distributional impacts, productivity effects, agglomeration benefits and external costs. The focus then turns to how best to present guidance on project selection to decision makers. The report includes papers on the way CBA is used in three countries – France, Mexico and the United Kingdom – and how it is evolving in response to changing policy priorities.
In mid-2010, the government commenced a review of the New Zealand Energy Strategy. The result is the publication of a new energy strategy, which establishes clear long-term policy priorities and energy-savings goals. Implementing these strategies will bring many new challenges, including attainment of the government’s medium-term energy-savings targets.
New Zealand enjoys the advantage of a diverse and balanced portfolio of renewable-energy resources, which contribute over 70% of electricity output – the third highest portion in IEA member countries. This resource base has the potential to deliver greater volumes of energy and the government aspires to increase this proportion to 90% of electricity generation by 2025. Meeting this target will bring many benefits but also tough challenges, such as maintaining a robust National Grid.
This review analyses the energy-policy challenges facing New Zealand and provides sectoral critiques and recommendations for further policy improvements. It is intended to help guide New Zealand towards a more sustainable energy future.
This report presents an overview of country initiatives concerning efficient, effective public services and open and innovative government. It focuses on four core issues: delivery of public services in times of fiscal consolidation; a more effective and performance-oriented public service; promotion of open and transparent government; and strategies for implementation of a reform agenda. These issues were discussed at the OECD Public Governance Ministerial Meeting held in Venice, Italy, in November 2010, hosted by the Italian Ministry for Public Administration and Innovation.
Trade promotes economic growth, alleviates poverty and helps countries reach their development goals. However, developing countries – in particular the least developed – face difficulties in making trade happen and turning trade into economic growth. The Aid for Trade Initiative – launched at the 2005 World Trade Organisation conference in Hong Kong – aims at helping these countries to take advantage of trade opportunities and to reap the benefits of their integration into the world economy. The Initiative has been a success: it has not only raised awareness among both donors and developing countries about the role of trade in development, but also helped secure increased resources.
Trade for Growth and Poverty Reduction: How Aid for Trade Can Help explains how Aid for Trade can foster economic growth and reduce poverty, and why it is an important instrument for a development strategy that actively supports poverty alleviation. Unlocking this potential requires carefully designed and sequenced trade reforms. While developing countries have many trade-related needs, but financial resources and political capital for reforms are limited, it is an important priority to tackle the most binding constraints to trade expansion. This report describes the diagnostic tools available, evaluates their strengths and weaknesses, and suggests a dynamic framework to guide the sequencing of reform and donor support.
Norway’s large potential for hydropower generation is an asset, as European electricity markets are integrating and variable renewable energy generation is set to increase. More cross-border interconnections are needed to realise the full potential of hydropower for balancing variations in demand and supply in the regional market. Increased interconnections would also improve electricity security in Norway in times of low hydropower availability. Gas-fired power plants should also be considered for use for the same purpose.
In order to meet its ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Norway needs to step up efforts at home. Although the dominance of low-carbon electricity in the energy mix limits the scope for domestic measures, large potential for emission reductions remains in oil and gas production, manufacturing and transport. However, measures to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy should be carefully designed, because they often focus on electricity and would thus not reduce emissions. Recent large increases in spending on energy RD&D and ongoing efforts to develop carbon capture and storage are very welcome.
The International Energy Agency's comprehensive 2010 review of Belgium's energy policies and programmes. It finds that
Belgium is making commendable progress towards a clean and sustainable energy future. Energy intensity has recently declined, as have greenhouse gas emissions. Measures have been implemented to promote energy efficiency. Public funding for energy R&D has risen substantially. Energy security measures have been reinforced for different fuels, and an integrated emergency response policy is under development. Market reforms are advancing in both the electricity and gas sectors. Belgian energy policies are playing an increasingly important role in ensuring energy security not only in the country but also in northwest Europe. The country’s strategic location makes it an important transit hub for natural gas, oil and electricity.
Nevertheless, challenges remain. A comprehensive, national strategy is needed to stimulate investment and adequately address energy security and climate change concerns. The Belgian position on the phase out of nuclear power should be reconsidered. The government should also try, through increased market transparency and streamlined planning procedures, to ensure that investment in new generation capacity is an attractive option for new players as well as incumbents. The overlapping responsibilities of the federal and regional governments reduce the cost-effectiveness of policies.
This review analyses the energy challenges facing Belgium and provides critiques and recommendations for further policy improvements. It is intended to serve as a guide as the country continues on its way towards a more sustainable energy future.
Available at: http://www.iea.org/publications/free_new_Desc.asp?PUBS_ID=2353
In 2003, the Asian Roundtable on Corporate Governance produced recommendations to improve corporate governance in Asia, based on the OECD Principles of Corporate Governance. This report summarises the results of a stocktaking exercise to determine progress made to date and the challenges remaining in the implementation of these recommendations. Included in this book are valuable insights into corporate governance rules and practices of listed companies in Asia, notably: shareholder rights, the protection of non-controlling owners, transparency and disclosure, as well as the role of company boards.
Despite these positive developments, there is room for improving Polandfs energy strategy. First, a more integrated energy and climate policy is needed to put Poland firmly on a low-carbon path while enhancing energy security. Second, energy policy could put more emphasis on promoting competition to make the energy markets more efficient. Decarbonising Polandfs power sector will be a particularly significant challenge requiring huge investments. Coal accounts for 55% of Polish primary energy supply and 92% of electricity generation, raising significant climate change and environmental challenges. To this end, Polandfs efforts to improve energy efficiency and to diversify the countryfs energy mix are praiseworthy and should be pursued. The governmentfs attention to R&D on clean coal technologies, including carbon capture and storage (CCS) is also encouraging. The government could put more focus on the positive role that gas can play in decarbonising the electricity mix, especially if Polandfs potential resources of unconventional gas are confirmed. To tap these resources, it will be vital to put the necessary legal and regulatory framework in place.
This in-depth review analyses the energy challenges facing Poland and provides sectoral critiques and recommendations for further policy improvements. It is intended to help guide the country towards a more secure and sustainable energy future.