African leaders propose global carbon tax regime at Africa climate summit

African leaders have proposed a global carbon tax regime in a joint declaration, known as the Nairobi Declaration, released at the Africa Climate Summit. The declaration aims to address the urgent needs of Africa in combating climate change, with African heads of state planning to use it as the basis for their negotiating position at the upcoming COP28 Summit in November.

The Nairobi Declaration calls for major polluters to provide more resources to help poorer nations tackle the challenges posed by climate change. It emphasizes that Africa is one of the most vulnerable continents to the impact of climate change but only receives about 12% of the required financing to cope with its consequences.

The proposed global carbon tax regime would apply to fossil fuel trade, maritime transport, and aviation. The declaration also suggests augmenting this tax with a global financial transaction tax to generate large-scale financing for climate-related investments. It emphasizes the need to insulate tax rises from political pressures and commit to sustainable funding.

The Africa Climate Summit focused on discussions related to mobilizing financing for adapting to increasingly extreme weather conditions, conserving natural resources, and developing renewable energy sources. Although the summit saw commitments of $23 billion towards green projects, African leaders recognized that these investments only scratch the surface of the continent’s financial requirements. They stressed the urgency for more systemic changes and adequate financing to effectively tackle climate-related challenges.

While several countries currently impose carbon taxes, the idea of a global carbon tax regime has struggled to gain traction. References are made to past proposals in the European Union, highlighting the challenges of implementing such a tax. Additionally, some activists criticize carbon credits, arguing that they allow polluters to continue emitting carbon dioxide without taking meaningful action.

The Nairobi Declaration emphasizes major polluters providing more resources to assist poorer nations and demands the implementation of a global carbon tax to generate sustainable financing for climate-related investments. While the implementation of a global carbon tax regime faces challenges, the declaration is viewed as a significant step forward in recognizing Africa’s role in climate change diplomacy.