Public Goods and Externalities

Agri-environmental Policy Measures in Selected OECD Countries

image of Public Goods and Externalities

Agriculture is a provider of commodities such as food, feed, fibre and fuel, and it can bring both positive and negative impacts on the environment. Yet most policy measures target farm systems, inputs and practices and agricultural infrastructure (driving forces) rather than the provision of agri-environmental public goods (environmental outcomes).

This report analyses how a handful of OECD countries (Australia, Canada, Japan, United Kingdom and the United States) defines agri-environmental public goods and sets agri-environmental targets and reference levels, and the policies they implement for targeting certain agri-environmental public goods.



Environmental targets and reference levels

This chapter discusses who should bear the costs of providing agri-environmental public goods, and how countries set agri-environmental targets and reference levels. Environmental targets are defined as desired (voluntary) levels of environmental quality that go beyond the minimum requirements or minimum (mandatory) levels of environmental quality for the agricultural sector. Reference levels are defined as the minimum level of environmental quality that farmers are obliged to provide at their own expense. They define the benchmark between avoidance of negative effects and the provisions of positive ones. This chapter presents several examples of environmental targets and reference levels.


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