Africa raises global taxes to fight climate change - BBC News

Africa raises global taxes to fight climate change – BBC News

  • By Wedaeli Chibelushi and Mercy Juma
  • BBC News, London and Nairobi

image source, Rex/Shutterstock

Image caption,

Kenyan President William Ruto hosts the Africa Climate Summit

African leaders proposed a global carbon tax system in a joint declaration.

The Nairobi announcement concluded the three-day Africa Climate Summit in the Kenyan capital.

The document, released on Wednesday, forced major polluters to pledge resources to help poor countries.

African heads of state said they would use it as a basis for their negotiations at November’s COP28 meeting.

The African Climate Summit was dominated by discussions on how to mobilize funding to adapt to climate change, conserve natural resources and develop renewable energy.

Africa is among the most vulnerable continents to the impact of climate change, but according to researchers, it only receives about 12% of the nearly $300bn (240 billion) in annual funding it needs to meet.

The Nairobi Declaration urged world leaders “to rally behind a proposal for a global carbon tax regime including a carbon tax on fossil fuel trade, maritime transport and aviation, which could also be supplemented by a global financial transaction tax”.

Human rights activist Graca Machel told the BBC the announcement was “a big step forward”.

“Africa is a player, the world cannot move without having Africa at the center,” he said.

“Africa is not here to be helped. Africa is here to provide opportunities to provide investment, to provide solutions.”

The Nairobi Declaration said that such measures would ensure that there is more money for climate-related investments and prevent the issue of tax increases from geopolitical and domestic political pressures.

About a dozen countries now impose taxes on carbon, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), but the idea of ​​a global carbon tax system has failed to gain much traction.

On Tuesday, Kenyan President William Ruto referred to previous proposals to the European Union on a financial transaction tax.

Conservation groups in 2011 said money collected from the tax should support environmental priorities, but the European Commission’s proposal failed to win the unanimous approval needed in the Council of Europe to become law.

Joab Bwire Okanda, senior adviser at the Christian Aid charity, said the call for a global carbon tax was welcome but “to make polluters really pay, bogus solutions like carbon credits that allow polluters to ride for free without taking meaningful action should be sent to the dustbin”.

Some activists say the credits, which allow polluters to reduce emissions by funding green projects, are the reason why big polluters keep emitting carbon dioxide.

Mr Ruto said international governments, development banks, private investors and philanthropists had committed R23bn (£18bn) to green projects over the three days, including hundreds of millions in a major carbon market initiative.

But African leaders have acknowledged that such investments only scratch the continent’s financial needs and said more systemic change is needed.

Some commentators say that the conference did not focus enough on how to help Africans adapt to bad weather.

Protesters also criticized the conference, demonstrating outside the event against Africa’s plan to sell carbon credits abroad.

Many foreign companies and countries have committed hundreds of millions to buying carbon credits from the Africa Carbon Markets Initiative (ACMI), including the United Arab Emirates, which has pledged to buy $450m (£358m).

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