African leaders advocate for global taxation to finance climate action efforts

African leaders convened on Wednesday and put forth a series of innovative global tax proposals designed to finance critical climate change initiatives.

These proposals, outlined in the Nairobi Declaration, will serve as the foundational principles guiding their negotiations at the upcoming COP28 summit scheduled for November.

The Africa Climate Summit in Kenya spanned three days and was primarily dedicated to deliberations on strategies for securing financial resources to combat the escalating challenges posed by extreme weather events, the preservation of natural resources, and the promotion of renewable energy sources.

Although the lead-up to the summit had seen a focus on market-driven solutions such as carbon credits, the final declaration placed substantial emphasis on urging major polluting nations to contribute more resources to assist economically disadvantaged countries.

Global carbon taxation framework

The declaration called upon global leaders to unite behind a comprehensive global carbon taxation framework, encompassing a carbon tax on fossil fuel trade, maritime transport, and aviation.

This framework could potentially be supplemented with a global financial transaction tax. The intent behind these measures was to ensure substantial funding for climate-related investments and to depoliticize the contentious issue of tax increases.

While approximately two dozen countries currently impose carbon taxes, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the concept of a global carbon tax regime has thus far struggled to gain momentum.

African nations intend to present these proposals from the Nairobi Declaration at a forthcoming U.N. climate conference later this month, as well as at the COP28 summit scheduled to commence in the United Arab Emirates in late November.

Reform in multilateral finance institutions

Additionally, the declaration advocated for reforms in the multilateral financial system and the formulation of a new Global Climate Finance Charter by 2025.

African nations have long contended that they face disproportionately high borrowing costs, ranging from five to eight times greater than wealthier nations.

This has led to recurring debt crises and has impeded their ability to allocate more resources towards addressing climate change.

To address this issue, the declaration called upon multilateral development banks to increase concessional lending to less affluent nations and to better leverage the International Monetary Fund’s special drawing rights mechanism, which issued $650 billion as part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

New methods to prevent African nations from debt defaults.

The Nairobi Declaration also proposed mechanisms to assist heavily indebted countries in avoiding defaults, including the introduction of instruments capable of providing ten-year grace periods and extending sovereign debt tenures.

While governments and private investors pledged billions of dollars towards environmentally sustainable investments during the summit, including a notable $4.5 billion commitment from the United Arab Emirates for renewable energy projects, African leaders stress that meeting the continent’s climate-related needs will necessitate a substantial increase in funding far beyond current commitments.


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