Billions of dollars could be raised to help the poorest countries cope with and tackle climate change under proposals to be floated in London this week for new charges on international shipping.
Opponents fear the charges — in the form of a fuel tax or selling permits to pollute — will raise the cost of food imports, especially for small island-states that depend on trade to feed their populations.
However, a report for the environmental campaign group WWF estimates that price increases would average less than 1 per cent and that up to $45 billion could be generated a year, most of which would be spent on developing countries.
The sum raised, which partly depends on the future price of carbon, would greatly surpass the funds currently available for adaptation to climate change and the transfer of clean technology to developing countries. However, it is still less than what the U.N. has said will be needed, including $67 billion a year for adaptation alone.
“There’s a chance for a double dividend: tackling a major source of greenhouse gases and putting money into the pot for vital climate assistance to those who need it most,” said Peter Lockley, WWF’s head of transport. Although shipping is the least polluting form of transport per tonne, it generates nearly 850 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. The shipping and aviation industries are excluded from international agreements to reduce emissions because they operate across borders, but the U.N. has urged the industries to introduce their own schemes. — © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2008
6 months ago