PLANNING minister Trevor Manuel outlined how finances could be raised for the ambitious $100 billion (R810.05bn) Green Climate Fund, in an exclusive interview with The Mercury this week.
The fund was conceived in Copenhagen and born in Cancun.
“There is no going back on it,” said Manuel, who is the co-chairman of the Green Climate Fund transitional committee.
It is hoped that, along with keeping the Kyoto protocol alive, one of the major success stories of COP17 in Durban will be sourcing money for the fund
The fund is aimed at helping the developing world deal with mitigating the effects of and adapting to climate change. Industrialised nations promised that the fund would have $100bn a year by 2020.
But now countries are reluctant to deposit the money into the communal account. Anti-capitalist Latin American countries like Bolivia are rejecting the idea of the World Bank administering the money. The EU is struggling with a financial crisis. And America and Saudi Arabia are dragging their feet and looking for loopholes in the agreement.
“Firstly, a price on carbon is fundamentally important. That shouldn’t be too difficult to calculate,” said the former finance minister. SA would then be able to sell carbon credits to other countries which emitted pollution beyond their quotas.
“Then we must look at taxing the bunkers (maritime and aviation industries). And, of course, private sector funding is necessary,” said Manuel.
Referring to Geoff Lamb’s Bill Gates Foundation report, delivered at the G20 in Cannes, Manuel said: “If you look at the world’s financial transactions, and we attach a 0.1 percent tax on equities and a 0.2 percent tax on bonds traded, the world can raise between $100bn and $250bn per annum.”
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has also publicly supported this notion. “Then we wouldn’t need any of those other things – just that,” said Manuel.
He outlined some of the challenges of raising funds for a global fund. “The problem with climate change is that it is a global issue, so we need global solutions. We are talking about a spirit of multilateralism, where taxes are imposed in one country and allocated in another,” he said.
Manuel blamed companies for the sad state of climate affairs. “The existence of greenhouse gases are a market failure of monumental proportions.”
Cosatu’s Zwelinzima Vavi said: “Any success of Durban’s COP17 will be judged on how we deal with the Green Climate Fund.
“We cannot afford to fiddle while Rome is burning before our eyes. We can’t take the ostrich approach… We are not looking to launch a shell (empty fund) on Monday,” he said.