Could a Tax on International Travel Fund a Country’s Response to Climate Change?
Countries most vulnerable to climate change are often the ones with the least financial resources to respond, and rich countries, which are accountable for the majority of global greenhouse gas emissions, are failing to support them.
In response, six climate finance experts on Thursday called for radical reform to the ways in which international climate finance is organized, The Guardian reported. In their article published in Nature Climate Change, the experts suggest innovative finance options like taxing international transportation to create steady flows of finance to countries that need it most, The Guardian reported.
Despite a pledge made in the Copenhagen Accord of 2009, rich countries are failing to provide US$100 billion a year by 2020 to support poor countries dealing with climate change. This is partly due to undefined rules on what kind of climate finance counts, the experts wrote.
"The original pledge stated that "this funding will come from a wide variety of sources, public and private, bilateral and multilateral, including alternative sources of finance", but specified no rules on what could be counted in those categories," the experts wrote. Over a decade later, the experts warn that accounting climate finance remains "deeply flawed," The Guardian reported.
A small number of countries contribute to the majority of global greenhouse gas emissions, The World Resources Center reported. While China is the world's biggest emitter, it is followed by the U.S., emitting 13 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Yet countries with the smallest carbon footprints are still at risk for extreme weather and poverty, exacerbating global inequality.
A lack of action by developed countries could, for example, force 100 million people into extreme poverty by 2030, The Brooking Institute reported. In response, participating countries of COP 16, in 2010, created the Green Climate Fund, an entity meant to decide on climate finance policies and priorities, UNFCCC reported.
Yet this program, including the UN Environment and Development Programmes and the Global Environment Facility, remain underfunded, the experts added, and dysfunctional climate finance systems continue to stand in the way of global efforts to support the countries most at risk of climate change.
"There is not a clear accounting system. The definitions of what constitutes climate finance are vague, and there are many flaws and discrepancies," Romain Weikmans, a co-author of the article told The Guardian. "It is impossible for now to say whether the $100bn pledge has been met or not. The parameters are so vague that it is impossible to give a definitive answer."
The authors call for countries to first determine their climate pledge's based on a vulnerable country's needs and then create tangible plans to reach these funding goals. For example, charging a tax on international flights could create steady flows of climate finance to help poor countries, The Guardian reported.
Based on a 2011 study, published by the International Institute for Environment and Development, a small charge to travelers taking flights could help raise US$10 billion each year. Taxing bunker fuels, high-carbon fuels used by ships, could also supply steady income streams, The Guardian suggests.
Implementing innovative solutions to help countries transition off of fossil fuels and adapt to climate change could be led by the new U.S. administration. For example, John Kerry, President Biden's new climate envoy, told global leaders last month at the Climate Adaptation Summit that "We intend to make good on our climate finance pledge," Reuters reported.
This promise is followed by President Biden's recent executive order, "Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad," requiring his team to develop a climate finance plan.
"Developed countries continue to avoid fundamental accountability issues by taking advantage of ambiguous technicalities in reporting standards," the authors wrote. As the United States steps back into the Paris agreement, an organized climate finance system could help the world's second-largest emitter lead the way in supporting countries most at risk for climate change. "Now is the time to begin that effort with ambition and accountability to build enduring trust and resilience," the authors added.
To save the planet, we must save the Amazon rainforest. To save the rainforest, we must save its indigenous peoples. And to do that, we must demarcate their land.
A new EarthxTV film special calls for the protection of the Amazon rainforest and the indigenous people that call it home. EarthxTV.org
- Meet the 'Women Warriors' Protecting the Amazon Forest - EcoWatch ›
- Indigenous Tribes Are Using Drones to Protect the Amazon ... ›
- Amazon Rainforest Will Collapse by 2064, New Study Predicts ... ›
- Deforestation in Amazon Skyrockets to 12-Year High Under Bolsonaro ›
- Amazon Rainforest on the Brink of Turning Into a Net Carbon Emitter ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Anke Rasper
"Today's interim report from the UNFCCC is a red alert for our planet," said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
The report, released Friday, looks at the national climate efforts of 75 states that have already submitted their updated "nationally determined contributions," or NDCs. The countries included in the report are responsible for about 30% of the world's global greenhouse gas emissions.
- World Leaders Fall Short of Meeting Paris Agreement Goal - EcoWatch ›
- UN Climate Change Conference COP26 Delayed to November ... ›
- 5 Years After Paris: How Countries' Climate Policies Match up to ... ›
- Biden Win Puts World 'Within Striking Distance' of 1.5 C Paris Goal ... ›
- Biden Reaffirms Commitment to Rejoining Paris Agreement ... ›
India's New Delhi has been called the "world air pollution capital" for its high concentrations of particulate matter that make it harder for its residents to breathe and see. But one thing has puzzled scientists, according to The Guardian. Why does New Delhi see more blinding smogs than other polluted Asian cities, such as Beijing?
- This Indian Startup Turns Polluted Air Into Climate-Friendly Tiles ... ›
- How to Win the Fight Against Plastic - EcoWatch ›
In a historic move, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) voted Thursday to ban hydraulic fracking in the region. The ban was supported by all four basin states — New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York — putting a permanent end to hydraulic fracking for natural gas along the 13,539-square-mile basin, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
- Appalachian Fracking Boom Was a Jobs Bust, Finds New Report ... ›
- Long-Awaited EPA Study Says Fracking Pollutes Drinking Water ... ›
- Pennsylvania Fracking Water Contamination Much Higher Than ... ›
Colombia is one of the world's largest producers of coffee, and yet also one of the most economically disadvantaged. According to research by the national statistic center DANE, 35% of the population in Columbia lives in monetary poverty, compared to an estimated 11% in the U.S., according to census data. This has led to a housing insecurity issue throughout the country, one which construction company Woodpecker is working hard to solve.
- Kenyan Engineer Recycles Plastic Into Bricks Stronger Than ... ›
- Could IKEA's New Tiny House Help Fight the Climate Crisis ... ›