UN Secretary-General: tax carbon not salaries

The UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ drew attention to the imminent dangers of climate change, bluntly stating that conflict was a likely and increasingly probable outcome if climate change was not tackled, saying, “military strategists see clearly the possibility of climate impacts increasing tensions over resources and mass movements of people everywhere in the world.”

Guterres’ made the remarks at the Pacific Island Forum Leaders meeting, in Suva, Fiji, where he praised the efforts of the Pacific region. He also considered the incentives that might help shape a lower-carbon future, saying: “Our efforts should also include carbon pricing that reflects the true cost of emissions, and accelerating the closure of coal plants, halting plans for new ones, and replacing those jobs with healthier alternatives so that the transformation is just, inclusive and profitable.

“My messages to governments around the world from the Pacific are clear: First, shift taxes from salaries to carbon. Tax pollution, not people.”

The Secretary-General also called on governments to stop subsidising fossil fuels, urging them to prevent the use of taxpayer money to “boost hurricanes, spread drought and heatwaves, melt glaciers, and bleach corals”.

“We need a green economy, not a grey economy” he added, calling for a ban on building new coal plants by 2020.

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