The Guardian managed to obtain a copy of a draft document by a group of poor nations, which was slated for discussion at the United Nations General Assembly. According to the paper, these countries are preparing to demand a “climate-related and justice-based” global tax as a means of financing payments for loss and damage suffered by a developing world.
The document said this could be levied through surcharges on airline travel, penalties on the heavily polluting and carbon-intensive bunker fuels used by ships, adding charges to fossil fuel extraction or a fee on financial transactions. (Related: Carbon taxes are here: World’s largest carbon capture pipeline to be constructed in the Upper Midwest.)
Moreover, the paper outlined the benefits and disadvantages of each of these along with the option of boosting funding from rich nations through the private sector and the global development banks such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
The British publication itself acknowledged that any tax would clearly be destructive to global shipping and further increase food and fuel prices.
All alternatives for financial loss and damage are likely to be hard for rich countries to agree to at a time of surging fossil fuel costs, soaring food prices and cost of living trouble around the globe. Although rich nations agreed at the COP26 UN climate summit in Glasgow last year that there should be a plan for loss and damage, there is no negotiation on how it could be financed or who should donate.
Caribbean nations turn in separate climate damage claims
Countries in the Caribbean, known mainly for being a tourism hotspot, also turned in separate documents to the UN with regard to the potential damage they could incur during the “climate collapse.”
One submission from the island nation of Antigua and Barbuda warned that “rising sea and air temperatures” in the region could produce a superstorm within years. It indicated that damages from this potential disaster could cause $8.9 billion on the Antigua and Barbuda – six times its annual GDP.
“The case of Antigua and Barbuda underscores the need for ambitious climate action addressing greenhouse gas emissions reduction, adaptation and loss and damage,” said Adelle Thomas, director of the Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience Research Center at the University of the Bahamas.
“For countries in the Caribbean that have contributed the least to climate change but are already struggling with current impacts, it is critical that global warming is limited to 1.5 C; that funding for adaptation is significantly increased and made more accessible; and that there is new and additional finance and support available to address loss and damage.”
“We are experiencing climate impacts that become more and more extreme with each passing year,” said Walton Webson, Antigua and Barbuda’s ambassador to the UN.
“We deserve to live without the looming fear of debt and destruction. Our islands are bearing the heaviest burden of a crisis we did not cause, and the urgent establishment of a dedicated loss and damage response fund is key to sustainable recovery.”
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