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UN calls for higher taxes to fund climate warning fight

Agence France-Presse
First Posted 23:31:00 11/05/2010

Filed Under: Climate Change, Global Warming, Treaties & International Organisations, Government, Europe, Americas - United States

UNITED NATIONS?A top UN panel on Friday called for increased taxes on carbon emissions and air and sea transport to raise 100 billion dollars a year to combat climate change.

The group led by the prime ministers of Norway and Ethiopia also proposed a tax on international financial transactions for a fund to help poorer nations counter the impact of the warming planet.

The radical proposals will be sent to all governments and get a first international airing at the next UN climate conference in Cancun, Mexico starting at the end of the month.

The report ?contains financing options that are both financially feasible and politically viable,? said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. ?This is not about charity. It is about doing the right thing for those who are suffering most from a crisis that they did least to cause.?

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg of Norway and Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia said there had to be greater use of carbon emission taxes as a deterrent to produce the gases blamed for global warming and to raise revenue.

They proposed that the price of carbon emissions of between 20 and 25 dollars a tonne by 2020, when the United Nations hopes to have 100 billion dollars a year available for the fund for developing nations.

This along with auctions of carbon emission allowances and new carbon taxes could raise up to 30 billion dollars a year, they said.

The bulk of carbon emissions currently cost between 10 and 20 dollars, according to experts.

Stoltenberg said the International Maritime Organization was already working on a system to tax the carbon emissions of shipping.

And he highlighted a system to be introduced by European nations in 2013 which will tax carbon emissions for all air travel within Europe.

Jet fuel or passenger tickets could be taxed to raise money for the fund, they said.

"This is more realistic than many people believe," Stoltenberg told a press conference at the UN headquarters.

"We need the political will to take the decisions and that is up to the governments."

Zenawi said a tax on international transport "can be managed in such a way that it will have not have any direct incidence on developing countries."

The group also proposed a tax on financial transactions but admitted: "diverging views will make it difficult to implement this universally." The United States has led a group of nations opposed to a new financial tax.

The UN chief said there was "a gap of trust between developed and developing countries, that is why the (climate) negotiations have not been going very well."

The climate financing panel was set up by the Copenhagen climate conference last year which ended in acrimonious disputes between developed and developing nations over who pays the cost of global warming.

The Ethiopian leader said "the final and perhaps more difficult task of clinching a deal on the matter is yet to be accomplished."

He said the pressure would now be on the leaders of the rich nations. "As Africans we have contributed virtually nothing to the environmental mess that our planet is in. We will however suffer first and suffer most as a result of the climate change caused by others."

Copyright 2015 Agence France-Presse. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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