Climate finance: on a wing and a prayer
The case for an air passenger tax to raise money to help developing countries tackle climate change was made – again – at a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Development & the Environment in London on Tuesday.
Saleemul Huq of the London-based International Institute for Environment and Development said a levy on international flights of $5 for economy class passengers and $60 for business class would raise an estimated $8bn-$10bn a year.
The levy, proposed during international climate negotiations, was fair because it applied to both developing and industrialised countries, he said, but was borne by the better-off, because the poorest people do not take international flights.
It would be easy to collect and would be a new source of funding that would come from passengers and not from the exchequer.
Most of the money raised through the scheme, he suggested, could be used to finance programmes and projects dealing with the impact of climate change, as this was an area of activity that would be unattractive to private funders.
The aim, he emphasised, was to raise funds rather than curb emissions. Challenged on this point, he retorted, “We’ve failed to mitigate [climate change] for 20 years and countries need to deal with the adverse effects of climate change now.”
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