Time for a climate damages tax on oil, gas and coal production

November 19, 2017 at 8:01 pm Leave a comment

On Thursday, the second last day of the UN Climate Change conference in Bonn, 25 Nations, provinces and cities took the extraordinary step of committing to coal phaseout in a declaration to phase out coal in the OECD by 2030 and globally by 2050.

Everyone at COP outside the negotiating rooms is talking about coal and fossil fuels. But it is a sad fact that fossil fuels are not even mentioned or referred to once in the Paris Agreement, hence does not come up in the formal negotiating discussions or texts.

Progess on finance for Loss and Damages was one of the big asks by Pacific nations and developing countries at this conference. But substantial progress was blocked by developed countries like US, Australia, Canada and European Union. At the end a forum was conceded to discuss financial options in May. Weak progress.

Before the conference Climate Action Moreland joined with other civil society groups in signing on to the Climate Damages Declaration.

Climate Analytics has recently highlighted, it has been a year of climate extremes: a case for Loss & Damage at COP23. They identified what should be done to progress the Loss and Damage agenda at Bonn. Sadly, it was largely a missed opportunity, thanks in part to Australia’s position.


Climate Damages Declaration

We, the undersigned:

Observe, with mounting alarm, the ever growing numbers of people whose homes are lost, lives disrupted, critical ecosystems imperilled and livelihoods ruined due to the damage inflicted by an increasingly hostile climate bringing hurricanes of greater intensity, devastating floods and encroachment of rising seas

Note that vulnerable countries, communities and ecosystems on the frontline of catastrophic climate change now face, due to lack of meaningful progress to reduce carbon emissions to date, changes in climate beyond the ability of people and ecosystems to adapt to – a phenomenon described as ‘Loss and Damage’

Recall the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015 (COP21) where countries agreed to pursue efforts to keep temperature rise to 1.5C and where ‘Loss and Damage’ was officially recognised as a separate pillar alongside ‘Mitigation’ and ‘Adaptation’, building upon the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage (WIM) established in 2013 at COP19

Further note that the WIM has yet to make progress on its core mission of delivering finance for addressing loss and damage.

Further observe that the countries and communities most deeply affected by irreversible climate change did not create these conditions, yet are paying the price of this damage whilst, at the same time, the fossil fuel industry – responsible for approximately 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions [1] – continue to profit while bearing none of the costs consequent from the use of their products.

Declare that, consistent with the ‘polluter pays’ principle, it is now time for the industry most responsible to pay for the damage it has caused, and for vulnerable countries worst affected to receive the financial assistance they so urgently need.

To this end, we demand and commit ourselves to advocating for:

  • The establishment of an initiative for loss and damage finance with a two year work plan identifying sources of revenue adequate to the scale of the problem in a predictable and fair way;
  • the introduction of an equitable fossil fuel extraction charge – or Climate Damages Tax – levied on producers of oil, gas and coal to pay for the damage and costs caused by climate change when these products are burnt, implemented nationally, regionally or internationally
  • the use of the substantial revenues raised to be allocated through the appropriate UN body, such as the Green Climate Fund or similar financial mechanism, for the alleviation and avoidance of the suffering caused by severe impacts of climate change in developing countries, including those communities forced from their homes
  • the urgent replacement of fossil fuels, by mid-century at the latest, with renewable sources of energy assisted by increasing the rate of the Climate Damages Tax over time.

Your organisation may sign the Declaration here ->http://bit.ly/2gZGO8h

[1] The Carbon Majors Database, CDP report, July 2017

Entry filed under: coal export, news, UNFCCC. Tags: , , , .

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