Bunker tax on shipping gets the nod

2011-12-07 15:37

Durban - With only three days left to set a strategy against global warming for the coming years, negotiators on Wednesday proposed an even lower temperature rise and gave a nod to a bunker tax on shipping.

"Significant progress has been made," said the ad-hoc working group on long-term co-operative action.

The text emerged a day after the launch of high-level talks involving heads of state and government and ministers. Negotiators have been meeting since November 28 to wrestle over the way forward.

More than 190 countries and 15 000 official delegates and observers are meeting in Durban under the looming cloud of the expiration of the world's only infrastructure to combat climate change. The Kyoto Protocol expires in December 2012.

The proposed text calls for the world's average temperature increase over pre-industrial times to be limited "to well below 1.5 degrees Centigrade" - a drastic decrease over the 2°C agreed upon in the past two climate summits.

Lowered expectations

That would mean even greater reductions in carbon emissions that are blamed for global warming. But even the current legally-binding and voluntary reduction pledges won't hit the 2°-mark. Rather, the UN Environmental Programme said on Tuesday, the world is on course for a 4° rise over the coming century.

Another key part of the document is how to fund the ambitious $100bn Green Climate Fund that was charted in Cancún in 2010. Negotiators adopted a proposal from Oxfam and other environmental groups to pursue a bunker tax on international shipping that would produce about $10bn a year for the fund.

But environmental groups are worried that the US has refused to even commit to backing the bunker tax, let alone discuss any other specifics about where the money will come from for the fund. US climate envoy Todd Stern insists that finalisation of details about governance and operation of the fund must come first.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday lowered expectations for the outcome of Durban talks, saying the world's financial crisis is a large hurdle for climate change efforts.

Ben Grossman-Cohen, a spokesperson for the Oxfam group, greeted the inclusion of the bunker tax in the document.

"It is significant that it made it through to this text, which is now under consideration by top ministers," he said.

  • Tony - 2011-12-07 16:12

    Im a cynic, I know, so don't shoot me. I fail to understand what on Gods earth a bunker tax is going to do to lower global temperatures. Shipping companies pass the costs on, the pollution stays exactly where it was. This entire COP exercise was just a huge waste of time and money. Humans are, and always will be their own worst enemies. USA, China and India have shown it the middle finger. 7 Billion humans on this planet, and counting.

      robbie.crouch - 2011-12-07 16:15

      Beats me too Tony.

      Kenny - 2011-12-07 16:22

      they are just milking whoever they can for money, the best way to control pollution is to control population

      Johnnie - 2011-12-07 16:27

      You are quite right Tony.They have this global warming,but, I would very much like to know, if the warming is so much, and the oceans rise such a lot, how come the shipwrecks lie far inland.

      rory.short1 - 2011-12-07 17:01

      It is a small element with huge financial clout within the human community that is the problem. The only problem that the rest of us has is that we let that element rule.

      Mike - 2011-12-07 18:19

      Tony, I watch a lot of Discovery channel so I regard myself as somewhat of an expert. What they do is this, each comes up with a tax proposal, whatever you can muster up is cool, none ever silly, as there is no such thing as a silly tax, then they throw it in a hat and pick one. Voila! You have another tax to deal with!. Whether it is actually going to do any good is irrespective, they have done their job!

  • Tony - 2011-12-07 16:22

    It seems that the issue they most concerned with is the money which a large portion will be feeding these fat cats. Althought there might be some concerns about the global warming, once again its about a new charge they can use to fleece, which in turn will be filtered to Joe Nobody.

      Kenny - 2011-12-07 16:25


  • Gavin - 2011-12-07 16:28

    What a pile of crap, as usual the idiots talk and the fools will pay. There's no such thing as a useful politician or global warming.

  • Heiku - 2011-12-07 16:31

    Global warming is one big global tax scam. I'm not a cynic. I'm just right.

  • mark.dennill - 2011-12-07 16:43

    They keep the masses believing that there is a huge problem with this global warming bullsh1t while they are doing far worse things with the other hand, its exactly like a magic trick (very impressive when you first see it) can anyone tell us if al gore is here for the conference lol.

  • rory.short1 - 2011-12-07 17:09

    The reality is an exploitative way of living is apparently highly successful but this is only in the short term, it is quite unsustainable in the long term as we are only now beginning to discover. The West has been non an exploitative track for centuries. Its short term success has caused the rest of humanity to think that they need to do the same, it is collective suicide.

  • marina.poniatowska - 2011-12-07 17:20

    I would not mind paying green taxes, if they actually use the money for that cause. Show us HOW this money will employed to do just that. Make the earth greener. I recon this is another bottomless pit for taking from the poor...

  • Horst - 2011-12-07 19:58

    Bunker tax! Who is going to collect this money? And what are they going to do with it? How is this going to help reduce CO2 concentration? Sorry I am very skeptical when it comes to governments handling the money.

  • Andrew - 2011-12-08 11:05


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