UN Climate talks at Durban 2011
December 09, 2011
World is looking for beyond all aspects to save the planet as resources are deteriorating and this depletion at the cost of future generation would surely harm the future capacity to provide the products. This was the message one gets from the UN Climate talks at Durban to seek the ways to minimize the things polluting the environment and depleting the planet’s resources. Few things are done good to award different countries for their efforts to sense this danger and making some substantial steps and policies for the betterment of Earth.
‘Robin Hood’ award for Pakistan
Pakistan won the ‘Robin Hood’ award at the UN climate talks for proposing financial transaction tax (FTT) as an innovative source of financing the Green Climate Fund (GCF).
The award was given to Pakistan by the youth constituency of the UNFCCC, known as YOUNGO. “The Green Climate Fund is very important for developing countries. Finding sources and channels to mobilise money into the fund is crucial,” said Director UN-II Mirza Salman Babar Beg, who is part of the negotiating team in Durban.
“Out of all the options relating to innovative sources on long-term finance that are on the table, the FTT is easy to implement and monitor and can raise money in hundreds and billions,” added Beg. “There are various studies that support this argument, and so we feel this option should be considered in the negotiations.” The Financial Transaction Tax, also known as the Robin Hood tax, is a small levy of 0.01%-0.05% imposed on the trade of stocks, derivates, currency, and other financial instruments.
Although different estimates have been proposed, global economists believe that potential revenues can range from $176 billion to $650 billion per year. These revenues can significantly contribute to the GCF, which will help developing countries to tackle poverty and climate change. It has also been proposed that the tax has the ability to discourage high frequency financial trading that causes big risks to the global economy.
Pakistan has been lobbying to include FTT as a long-term source of finance in the GCF. Earlier this week, it made an intervention in the informal meeting on finance at COP17 saying, “one of the biggest sources of innovation finance is going to be from a financial transaction tax”, and that there must be openness by parties to look at all sources with flexibility”. The FTT has so far gathered support from many developed and developing countries; but discussion about having it as a long term financing option for the GCF is still pending. It is also not clear at this stage how this fund will be used and what areas will be specifically addressed through it. There seems to be some debate over distribution too, if it gets materialised.
However, Beg believes that the FTT is practical and a good option, which his delegation is pushing for in the talks.
Canada wins Fossil of the Day award
The Canadian Conservative government has been a staunch opponent of the Kyoto Accords. Although CanadaCanada is a signatory to the accords it has failed to meet the targets. The former Liberal government had a much more positive rhetoric on environmental issues than the Conservatives but did not manage to actually meet its goals.
The Green party has one representative in the Canadian parliament but one lone representative can do little to influence policy. At one time the Liberals campaigned on what was called the Green Shift but Stefan Dion the Liberal leader who led the campaign failed at the polls and the Liberals dropped the environmental rhetoric and Dion as well. Their next leader did not emphasize the environment but did even worse at the polls.
Both the Climate Action Network and Greenpeace have been critical of Canada at the Durban conference for doing little to protect the environment. The Alberta Oil Sands development is a particular target of many environmentalists. The processes of extracting the oil add considerably more greenhouse gases to the environment than conventional production.
Many critics think that Canada will pull out of the Kyoto protocols. Peter Kent the minister responsible for the environment has refused to confirm or deny that Canada intends to do so. However he did characterize the protocols as being in the past. He said the former Liberal government made a blunder in even signing the pact. This stance earned Canada the fossil of the day award.