Governments in large countries seem to be turning away from taxes as a way to force their citizens to follow better environmental practices, according to a report by KPMG.

Figures from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development show that environmental taxes as a proportion of gross domestic product have fallen in recent years in many economies, the report pointed out. Between 1996 and 2005, the proportion of GDP accounted for by environmental taxes across 29 of the world's largest economies has fallen by an average of 0.2 percent.

The country where the share of GDP taken by environmental taxes has fallen most is Greece. In 1996, environmental taxes accounted for 5.07 percent of Greek GDP. By 2005, that had fallen by 3.35 points to 1.72 percent. Next came South Korea, where environmental taxes accounted for 1.69 percent of GDP in 2005, down 0.98 of a percentage point on 1996, followed by Norway, down 0.86 of a percentage point to 2.8 percent.

Among the larger economies, the United Kingdom and Canada have both fallen 0.49 of a point to 2.51 percent and 1.22 percent respectively, France has fallen 0.33 of a point to 2.17 percent and the U.S. has fallen 0.13 of a point to 0.89 percent. But in Japan and Germany, environmental taxes have risen as a proportion of GDP, by 0.04 of a point to 1.76 percent and 0.17 of a point to 2.46 percent, respectively.

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