Poor nations urge air-ticket levy

Rich countries could be asked to accept a levy on international airline tickets to raise billions of US dollars to help the world’s poorest nations adapt to climate change, the Guardian reported. The suggestion came in Bonn, at the start of the second week in the latest round of talks on a new global agreement to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

Proposed by the world’s 50 least-developed countries, the aviation levy is expected to increase the price of long-haul air fares by less than 1%, while raising an estimated US$10 billion annually. It could be matched by a compulsory surcharge on all international shipping fuel, said Connie Hedegaard, the Danish environment and energy minister.

Last week, a separate Mexican “green fund” proposal was gaining ground. It would oblige all nations to pay amounts of money according to a formula reflecting the size of their economy, greenhouse-gas emissions and population. That could ensure that rich countries, with the longest history of industrial use of fossil fuels, pay the most.

The proposal was praised recently by 17 major-economy nations meeting in Paris as a possible mechanism to help finance a United Nations climate agreement. Governments hope that a successor accord to the first phase of the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012, can be agreed in Copenhagen in December. The issue of funding for adaptation is critical to the success of the negotiations but is the hardest to agree.

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