Experts demand taxes on flights to help poor countries in the climate crisis

Experts demand taxes on flights to help poor countries in the climate crisis

Taxes on international transport could provide new flows of finance to developing countries to help them reduce greenhouse gas emissions and cope with the impacts of climate breakdown, a group of climate finance experts have said.

Rich countries are failing on their pledge to provide $100bn a year to help poor countries cope with the climate crisis, and the way in which climate finance is organised needs urgent reform, the six academics argue in an article in the journal Nature Climate Change.

They warn that the methods of accounting for climate finance are deeply flawed, and that failing to reform the system would undermine the trust of developing countries in the Paris agreement.

Romain Weikmans, a co-author of the Nature comment and fellow of the Free University of Brussels, said: “There is not a clear accounting system. The definitions of what constitutes climate finance are vague, and there are many flaws and discrepancies. 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 group of six experts – from the US, Europe and Bangladesh – call for clear rules on what counts as climate finance. They also suggest that the needs of developing countries should be assessed and plans drawn up for how to meet them, through a global mechanism that would provide longer-term certainty than the current system of ad hoc allocations made each year by rich countries.

They say charging levies on international flights and on bunker fuels – high-carbon fuels used by ships – could provide a steady stream of climate finance to the countries that need it.

This is an excerpt from an article by Fiona Harvey, originally published on The Guardian.

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