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Carbon tax fails to get UN stamp

Developing countries led by Cuba stall the move. Chetan Chauhan reports.

delhi Updated: Nov 30, 2011 18:53 IST
Chetan Chauhan

A bid to legitimize carbon tax on aviation and maritime transport has got thumbs down from the developing world with Cuba terming it violation of the basic principle of United Nations climate convention of common but differentiated responsibility.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation and International Maritime Organisation have proposed carbon tax on the lines of what Europe would be implementing for flights landing there from January 2012.

The two organisations want global framework of carbon tax on airlines and shipping companies, which fail to meet emission norms of certain regions, such as Europe, to reduce emissions from aviation and maritime transport.

The European Union wants to extend its carbon tax regime called Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) to the shipping sector by 2015 and is looking at ratification of the same from the UN’s top climate body.

Cuba, speaking in Durban climate conference of 195 nations on behalf of India, China, Argentina, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Egypt and Algeria, accused the two organizations of trying to burden the developing world for meeting emission reduction targets of the developed world.

As per the UN convention, the rich nations are required to reduce emissions and pay for climate mitigation in the developing world. The proposal, however, aims to turn the table with developing world having to pay for emission reduction targets of the rich nations.

“These types of measures would have political, economic and social implications and penalize international transport, increasing its costs, and, thus, affecting international trade, particularly in the developing world,” the statement read out at the conference said.

Cuba accused the two organizations of proposing a framework for market based measures without considering objections from number of developing countries. It sought consensus before any country including Europe impose such unilateral carbon tax.

Environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan has already written to European Commission opposing the “unfair” carbon tax. Her sentiments were reflected in the Cuban statement which said there was a need for transfer of technologies and provision of financing to ensure that the developing world can improve efficiency in international transport.