Activists hoped Egypt’s COP27 would bring a focus on Africa. They were disappointed. “We hoped that the COP would include Egypt in the agenda because we support Egypt’s position and we respect what his government is doing,” he said.
The climate talks began in early September. In the last week of the meeting, leaders announced an agreement on the so-called “rulebook” for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. It includes targets for developing countries and a pledge that the world will keep warming less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).
Despite all the good news, however, there were several signs that the world will have to continue relying on expensive climate mitigation measures well into the future.
Some countries want to keep a carbon tax in place because they can see it working, even if it’s not the best way to tackle climate change. Others do not believe climate change is a human-caused problem. They are confident it can be controlled.
A key reason for this is that some countries see a major tax as being just the tip of the iceberg. For example, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Australia, and New Zealand together have more than a trillion dollars of unclaimed tax.
Most of that money is sitting in private accounts. They think tax can be more effective if it can be collected at the source and made accessible to public coffers. Many countries also want to tax trade, but that is often a difficult proposition, because it requires the cooperation of companies.
The result is a political stalemate about how to handle this unclaimed wealth. They are all looking to find a solution.
This could lead to the need for a new global tax system. The Dutch government has long advocated its proposal, known as “the tax-surcharge system,” which is a flat-rate surcharge on transactions among countries.
In principle, this system has some advantages over other solutions. Companies must only pay this fee once on every commercial transaction they participate in, so there is no need to keep track of every transaction and adjust it. That saves time and money as well as reducing the compliance burden on businesses.
The system might also be more effective because it could collect more