Could taxes on polluters finance losses and damages?

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The pointing finger at who pays climate victims continues. American John Kerry has hinted that China, now the (far) second largest historical emitter in the world, should participate.

Chinese Xie Zhenhua told a press briefing that Kerry did not ask him directly during their informal meetings. (Relations are still frosty since US President Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan “hurt the feelings of the Chinese people.”)

Cautioning against reopening the Paris Agreement, Xie said China had made voluntary contributions through South-South cooperation and was under no obligation to do more.

“We hope…we can get this new mechanism in place and then we can discuss how to resolve it further,” Xie said.

Meanwhile, a few million dollars from New Zealand and Scotland won’t go far.

This impasse has vulnerable nations in search of so-called “innovative finance”. It could mean anything from air passenger taxes to debt forgiveness.

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley imposes fossil fuel tax – including in a phone call to John Kerry.

“It is time the private sector stood up and we must hold it accountable,” Michai Robertson, the small island (Aosis) negotiator on loss and damage, said on Wednesday.

Developed countries seem more open to this idea than to another strain on their public finances. Asked about it at a Cop27 press conference, after stopping for a plane to fly overhead, the EU’s Jacob Werksman said, “we’re all looking for funding innovative”.

But it’s not going to be easy. Robertson said it was only in the “exploratory phase”. Obtaining the adhesion of the oil States is an obvious obstacle.


Kerry’s compensation plan is ‘raw cookie dough’

UN climate envoy John Kerry came to COP27 determined to have something to say about how to finance the transition from coal to clean energy.

Perhaps he acknowledges that the US$1 billion loans for South Africa’s Just Energy Transition Agreement did not cut the mustard. As he prepared for COP27, the midterms did not look promising for a climate-friendly majority to push through more support in Congress.

On Wednesday, Kerry outlined a plan for using carbon credits to fund coal retirement and deploy solar, wind and geothermal power in developing countries.

Philanthropic groups Rockefeller Foundation and Bezos Earth Fund are interested in the idea and have teamed up with the US State Department to put flesh on the bones. It is called the Energy Transition Accelerator.

Kerry’s team “worked like crazy on this for a while,” he said. We first reported the idea in early November.

Still, the result “isn’t so much half-baked as it’s raw cookie dough,” said Leo Roberts of E3G’s Charcoal Transition Team. There are hardly any details.

This makes it difficult to judge against the recommendations of UN chief António Guterres’ Greenwashing Task Force, which set high standards for the use of offsets to meet net zero commitments.

Kerry promised “strong safeguards” and not to repeat past mistakes, which allowed dodgy carbon credits to flourish.


An activist against the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline confronts an adviser from Japanese bank MUFG at COP27. According to 350.org, activists asked the bank to say they would not support the pipeline and bankers responded that they could not comment on individual cases. (Photo: 350.org)


In short…

Distancing – Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) has withdrawn from Team Energy Africa, a UN-backed initiative to mobilize private sector energy investment across Africa. The move comes after we reported the involvement of NJ Ayuk, an oil and gas lobbyist and convicted fraudster.

Should China pay? – After reports that the small islands (Aosis) want China to pay for loss and damage, Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister and Aosis Chief Gaston Browne told Climate Home: “All polluters, especially the big ones, must contribute to the fund”. He added that the “differentiated assessment” should include “historical emissions and the current level of development”.

Hustle for green hydrogen – Egypt and Norway have signed an agreement to establish a 100 MW green hydrogen plant at Ain Sokhna on the Red Sea. Egypt and Belgium have also announced a green hydrogen project, reports Egypt Today.

Action of methane – China has drafted a national methane strategy, its climate envoy Xie Zhenhua said at COP27. The strategy will target the three main sources of emissions: energy, agriculture and waste. They will set preliminary targets which are only preliminary because China has “a rather weak statistical capacity in this area”. He said leveraged public funding would be essential.

Congress in balance – Democrats are doing better than expected in the midterm elections, winning Senate seats in Pennsylvania. At the time of writing, who will control the two houses of Congress – the House and the Senate – was unclear. Democratic control would improve the prospects for climate finance.

Nature earns money – The Climate Investment Fund announced that it will deploy more than $350 million for nature-based solutions, globally, starting with Egypt, the Dominican Republic, Fiji and Kenya. Egypt, host of COP27, is preparing to invest in the adaptation of the Nile Delta region, which is expected to lose 30% of its food production by 2030 due to climate change.

united latin america – The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC in Spanish) Published a joint call for new climate finance through sovereign wealth funds and debt-for-nature swaps. Colombian Environment Minister Susana Muhamad says debt swaps could help unify the region at climate talks, which are usually split into two groups: the left-wing Alba nations and the right-wing Ailac. .

Oil financing – The African Development Bank (AfDB) has signed an agreement with the OPEC Fund to “expand their partnership to support sustainable economic and social development”. OPEC has contributed more than a billion dollars to projects co-financed by the AfDB.

UK adaptation – The UK will provide £200 million ($228 million) to the African Development Bank Group’s Climate Action Window, a new mechanism set up to finance adaptation.

Watch weather wonga – Spain has announced that it will fund the Systematic Observations Funding Mechanism, which aims to bring early warning systems to more countries. Norway has increased its donation. The beneficiaries of the facility are mainly African nations or small islands.

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