Reform, Innovation and Renewable Energy
Critical Issues in Environmental Taxation series
Edited by Natalie P. Stoianoff, Larry Kreiser, Bill Butcher, Janet E. Milne and Hope Ashiabor
Chapter 6: The global natural resource consumption tax
It is now more than 20 years since the first call for action on climate change at the Earth Summit butthe scale of progress to date has been uninspiring. Numerous attempts have been made by the international community to negotiate a cooperative approach to tackling not only climate-related issues but also the funding to achieve these. It has been reiterated again and again that this needs to be viewed as both fair and feasible while consistent with the principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capacities’. The focus has remained solely and consistently on greenhouse gas emissions, particularly carbonrelated. Proposals to date have predominantly relied on pledges, that is, voluntary contributions or targets, which are also voluntary. Yet the issue is acknowledged to be broader than this, affecting ecosystems and biodiversity, land use changes and land management activities. Initiatives regarding international payments for ecosystem services are increasingly being adopted. The reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) scheme is an example of an incentivized system but its focus is nevertheless still on reducing emissions. The concept of a ‘global natural resource consumption tax’, which we explore in this chapter, takes a holistic view of the environment and makes all nations accountable for their use of environmental resources.
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