South Africa: Stiff Carbon Tax Vital to Cool a Hotter, Denuded World

analysis

Taxes are rarely popular, especially in tough economic times. But a group of United Nations science experts believes a stiff and universal carbon tax is essential to curb the 'relentless' extraction of natural resources that are making the world steadily hotter, thirstier and denuded of wild nature.

The International Resource Panel, a United Nations science advisory group that provides expert advice on the use of natural resources and environmental impacts, has urged world leaders to implement a universal carbon tax equivalent to US$15 a ton by 2020, rising to at least $100 per ton by 2030.

Speaking at the 4th UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya on Tuesday, 12 March, former Swiss environment head Professor Bruno Oberle said carbon taxes were controversial -- but now unavoidable.

"Will we go bankrupt and have our economies destroyed because of carbon taxes? The answer is No," said Oberle, arguing that it was still possible for countries to grow their economies if carbon tax revenues were directed into schemes such as better public transport, green electricity or less wasteful use of natural resources.

Oberle is a professor at the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne and lead author of the latest Global Resources Outlook...

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