December 13, 2007
A global tax on carbon dioxide emissions was urged to help save the Earth from catastrophic man-made global warming at the United Nations climate conference. A panel of UN participants on Thursday urged the adoption of a tax that would represent "a global burden sharing system, fair, with solidarity, and legally binding to all nations."
The UN was presented with a new report from the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment titled "Global Solidarity in Financing Adaptation." The report stated there was an "urgent need" for a global tax in order for "damages [from climate change] to be kept from growing to truly catastrophic levels, especially in vulnerable countries of the developing world." The tens of billions of dollars per year generated by a global tax would "flow into a global Multilateral Adaptation Fund" to help nations cope with global warming, according to the report.
Schwank said a global carbon dioxide tax is an idea long overdue that is urgently needed to establish "a funding scheme which generates the resources required to address the dimension of challenge with regard to climate change costs."
'Diminish future prosperity'
However, ideas like a global tax and the overall UN climate agenda met strong opposition Thursday from a team of over 100 prominent international scientists who warned the UN that attempting to control the Earth's climate was "ultimately futile."
The scientists wrote, "The IPCC's conclusions are quite inadequate as justification for implementing policies that will markedly diminish future prosperity. In particular, it is not established that it is possible to significantly alter global climate through cuts in human greenhouse gas emissions." The scientists, many of whom are current or former members of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), sent the December 13 letter to the UN Secretary-General. (See: Over 100 Prominent Scientists Warn UN Against 'Futile' Climate Control Efforts – LINK)
'Redistribution of wealth'
The environmental group Friends of the Earth, in attendance in Bali, also advocated the transfer of money from rich to poor nations on Wednesday. "A climate change response must have at its heart a redistribution of wealth and resources," said Emma Brindal, a climate justice campaigner coordinator for Friends of the Earth. (LINK) Calls for global regulations and taxes are not new at the UN. Former Vice President Al Gore, who arrived Thursday at the Bali conference, reiterated this week his call to place a price on carbon dioxide emissions.
In 2000, then French President Jacques Chirac said the UN's Kyoto Protocol represented "the first component of an authentic global governance." Former EU Environment Minister Margot Wallstrom said, "Kyoto is about the economy, about leveling the playing field for big businesses worldwide." Canadian Prime Minster Stephen Harper once dismissed Kyoto as a "socialist scheme." (LINK)
'A bureaucrat's dream'
MIT climate scientist Dr. Richard Lindzen warned about these types of carbon regulations earlier this year. "Controlling carbon is a bureaucrat's dream. If you control carbon, you control life," Lindzen said in March 2007. (LINK) In addition, many critics have often charged that proposed tax and regulatory "solutions" were more important to the promoters of man-made climate fears than the accuracy of their science.
Former Colorado Senator Tim Wirth reportedly said in 1990, "We've got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing "in terms of economic policy and environmental policy."