Sat, 03 Dec 2011 02:55:58 GMT

Youth revives Robin Hood to coax climate negotiators

From Betwa Sharma
Durban, Dec 2 (PTI) Youth activists at the climate talks in Durban dressed up in green costumes and shot arrows at Robin Hood''s hat, which represented taxing large financial transactions in developed countries to pay for combating climate change.

"Take from the rich and give to the poor" is the motto behind the "Robin Hood Tax" or "The Financial Transaction Tax."
The Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) is a small levy of 0.01 per cent to 0.05 per cent on each trade of sticks, derivatives, currency and other financial instruments.

The tax is not aimed at the average tax payer but rather targets high-risk speculators creating instability in the financial market. It is estimated that potential revenues could be from USD 176 billion to USD 650 billion annually.

A senior Indian negotiator told PTI that at the 2008 climate talks in Poland, India had already supported the measure. On Friday, youth activists asked COP participants, especially negotiators, to try and hit the bulls eye on a large dartboard representing FTT.

There are some groups who want the tax to be applied globally, but there is considerably more support for it to be applied in developed nations. "Developed countries need to pay under the polluters pay principle," Kate Catlin, a US youth, representing Sustain US told PTI.

"India should definitely be interested in joining (the Coalition of the Willing)".

French President Nicholas Sarkozy, who supports levying the tax, has created the Coalition of the willing. He is backed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel as well. South Africa, Brazil and Argentina are also part of the coalition.
An Oxfam poll conducted this year found a majority of people in the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy supported the tax.

The European Commission is exploring whether it can apply European FTT on a unilateral basis on the continent. "Agreeing to the FTT is an important step in securing both climate and economic stability for young people and future generations," said Catlin.

The Green Climate Fund, which will aid developing countries to combat climate change, is emerging as one of the main priorities of the climate talks in Durban. The fund needs to be financed to the tune of USD 100 billion per year starting from 2020.

Before the talks conclude on December 9, developing countries want developed countries to make some concrete pledges and operationalise the Fund. Reeling under the financial crisis, developed countries have yet to say how much they intend to give and by when.

"One of the biggest sources of innovative finance is going to be from a Financial Transaction Tax," said a Pakistani delegate during an informal meeting here. "There must be an openness of Parties to look at all sources with flexibility and openness." PTI BS SAZ AKJ

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