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Addressing Industrial Air Pollution in Kazakhstan

Reforming Environmental Payments Policy Guidelines

image of Addressing Industrial Air Pollution in Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan has recorded impressive economic growth rates since its independence, driven mainly by export of commodities and high rate of energy use. These rates are not sustainable and are generating significant air pollution, in particular from industrial stationary sources. This is putting at risk the country’s development ambitions to become one of the top global economies by 2050 and converge towards OECD living standards. Building on OECD previous analysis, this publication shows that Kazakhstan’s environmental payments (environmentally related taxes, non-compliance penalties and compensation for damage regulation) for industrial air pollutants, as currently applied, impede energy efficiency and pollution abatement with heavy-handed non-compliance responses and focus on rising revenues. They also add to the cost of doing businesses in the country with limited environmental benefit. In the spirit of the Polluter-Pays Principle, much more reforms of regulation of environmental payments are needed. This report provides guidelines for reform drawing from air pollution regulations in OECD member countries and the results of the analysis of the system in Kazakhstan carried out by the OECD in close co-operation with the Government of Kazakhstan.

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Moving to a broader and more effective range of non-compliance responses

In case of discharges by industrial operators above their emission limit value as set in the permit and project documentation, Kazakhstan’s primary response is to impose administrative penalties. This chapter examines the system for non-compliance and how it diverges from the experience of OECD member countries. It considers the full range of responses of an enforcement pyramid. It offers recommendations to transition from these highly discriminatory, contested and opaque non-compliance responses to a more modern, proportionate (risk-based) and collaborative system. It concludes with specific guidelines on how to adjust the legislative acts, the principles of regulations and the tools for enforcement in Kazakhstan.

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