LONDON: It is eminently reasonable that those most responsible for the damages caused by climate change should pay a greater share,” said UK Labour shadow international climate change minister Barry Gardiner.
He was speaking at a side event on Monday attended by Vanuatu’s foreign minister Ralph Regenvanu and Greens MP Caroline Lucas. Gardiner said Labour, unlike the Greens, had not settled on the tax as a formal policy.
“Labour has not committed to a specific climate damages tax, but we are clear that fossil fuels can no longer hide away from their enormous responsibilities,” Gardiner said.
Regenvanu said Vanuatu desperately needed funds to bounce back from climate disasters – and he would propose the tax to his Commonwealth counterparts as a solution.
In the 2015 Paris Agreement, countries agreed to address that loss and damage. But aside from a few insurance initiatives, which critics say leave the poor picking up the bill, they have yet to find a source of finance.
The proposal to make coal, oil and gas suppliers pay has been on the margins of debate for a few years. At the last round of UN climate talks in November 2017, Seychelles ambassador Ronny Jumeau, writers Naomi Klein and George Monbiot, and more than 50 NGOs declared their support.
Gardiner cited research linking historic greenhouse gas emissions to fossil fuel companies and a recently uncovered 1988 report by oil major Shell showing it was making similar calculations as far back as 1988. The company found its fuels generated 4% of global emissions in 1984 – double the UK’s carbon footprint at the time.