12 Dec 2015

We could pay the $100 billion needed to fight climate change with a global financial transaction tax of just 0.0001%

We've just got the news about the agreement in Paris during the COP 21 meeting. OK, there has definitely been some progress, but as George Monbiot puts it "By comparison to what it could have been, it’s a miracle. By comparison to what it should have been, it’s a disaster."

Fixing climate change is going to require a great deal of investment in renewable energy, conservation measures etc.  But even the $100 billion that was supposed to be provided by the richer countries to help the third world has caused an enormous amount of wrangling.

But the solutions were already there. According to the French Financial Minister Michel Sapin last Wednesday, the 10 European Countries that have been pushing to introduce financial transaction taxes are hoping to raise between 10 and 15 billion euros a year.  He said "We want this 10 to 15 billion to go to developing countries, in particular to fight the effects of climate warming".

If just 10 countries hope to raise that much, the obvious question is what could be raised if everyone joined in?  Even the figures for financial transactions reported in the BIS annual figures exceeded $11 quadrillion in 2014, and those figures are clearly hopelessly far off the mark since they fail to include a number of major players like LCH Clearnet Ltd and the Options Clearing Corporation.

But let's just take the conservative $11 quadrillion figure given by BIS. That's $11,000,000,000,000,000.  The $100 billion that the nations at the COP 21 meeting in Paris is 100,000 times smaller. And that means that you could finance the whole budget for climate change with a global financial tax of just 0.0001%.

And further more, the rich countries are only talking about $100 billion between now and 2020. An FTT of 0.0001% could raise the same sum every year!

Why, for Christ's sake, was this solution not even mentioned in Paris??? It would have been the perfect occasion for everyone to agree on a simple way to fix things. But now, we will be back to George Osborne and the City doing absolutely everything in their power to block the introduction of an FTT. They even plan to attack the plans of the 10 European countries who would like to use an FTT to help fight climate change. Osborne said "We can challenge this financial tax in the European court if this implicates other states including the United Kingdom".

Frankly, there are times where I am ashamed to be British. This is one of them.

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