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Cancun climate talks hunt for compromises
Question of the Day
In view of the economic crisis, “it is not feasible for most of that money to come through the (government) budgetary process at the moment,” Zenawi said in the Ban-led discussion.
In its final report last month, the group said the greatest contributions should come from private investment and from “carbon pricing,” either a direct tax broadly on emissions tonnage from power plants and other industrial sources or a system of auctioning off emissions allowances that could be traded among industrial emitters.
Either route would make it economical for enterprises to minimize emissions, and would produce revenue. Zenawi said his group recommends that at least 90 percent of such revenues flow to domestic budgets and the remainder to the global fund.
The United States has been a major holdout against such carbon pricing plans, however, and the impending Republican takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives all but guarantees none will be enacted in the U.S. for at least two years.
The U.N. advisers also see possible revenue sources in a tax or trading system for fuel emissions of international airliners and merchant ships, or a fee on air tickets, with a potential for $10 billion a year. They also suggested a possible levy on foreign-exchange transactions, and removal of government subsidies of fossil fuels, with the money redirected to a climate fund. They estimated each of those might also produce $10 billion annually.
By Michael P. Orsi
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