More than 60 organisations from around the world are calling for a carbon levy on fossil fuel extraction to help pay for the climate change impacts on the most vulnerable countries.
The Carbon Levy Project declaration argues that fossil fuel companies are causing approximately 70 per cent of the climate change experienced today.
As a result, these companies should have to help mobilise funds to provide compensation for the damage, it says. This would be done through a tax on extraction (as opposed to emissions) the declaration explains.
Renowned climate scientist Naomi Oreskes, author Naomi Klein, 350.org’s Bill McKibben, and Greenpeace’s Kumi Naidoo, along with Ronny Jumeau, the Seychelles Ambassador to the UN, and Yeb Sano of the Philippines, have all signed the declaration following this month’s historic Paris Agreement.
On December 12, the world agreed to keep global warming to “well below 2°C” with the aim of trying to keep the global average temperature increase to just 1.5°C.
However, even these temperature goals will not stop some climate impacts already being felt by the most climate-vulnerable nations.
“Vulnerable communities on the frontline of climate change are already suffering worse droughts, more intense storms, and their homes are already being encroached upon by rising sea levels. They are already suffering loss and damage from climate change,” reads the declaration.
Not only are fossil fuel companies responsible for climate change, but many of them have, for years, supported campaigns denying climate science, in order to slow government action.
The most prominent example is ExxonMobil, which is currently being investigated in New York for its climate denial efforts.
“These big oil, coal and gas companies are continuing to reap millions in profit, while the poor are paying with their lives. While the Paris Agreement sends a strong signal that fossil fuels must be kept in the ground, on the way to that goal, these companies should be paying for the damage they’ve already caused,” said Julie Anne Richards of the Climate Justice Programme, campaigning for a carbon Levy.
She added: “We support work by allies on legal strategies to bring the fossil fuel industry to account for the damage their product is causing. And it is crucial to ensure that fossil fuels are phased out and replaced by renewable energy by mid-century.”
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