Wednesday, December 9, 2009

France proposes Global tax on financial transactions to fund Copenhagen measures

The openly communitarian nations aren't holding back in the least about their hopes of using Climate Change to implement their objectives under LA21. The 3rd piece is an editorial, kind of amazing in that it's in a mainstream Australian newspaper and it's warning the public!
"Kouchner told reporters after meeting U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that France has been working on the tax idea for a year and hosted a conference in Paris in October with 59 countries as well as financial and economic experts to put together a proposal.

"He conceded there is some opposition, even in liberal countries, but he predicted "all the people of the world will accept this kind of contribution."

""It will be done, believe me, it will be done. I don't know when. But I know that we (have) to rebalance the responsibility and the sufferings in this world," Kouchner said. "If it comes through this conference it will be a big, big, big, big benefit.""
Forwarded from Peter Myers elist
(6) France proposes Global tax on financial transactions to fund Copenhagen measures

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

France wants to help developing countries combat climate change with small tax


7/12/2009 7:04 PM |

France is pushing for a political agreement at the climate conference in Copenhagen to include a tax on financial transactions to help developing countries, Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said Monday.

Kouchner said a very small tax - 0.005 per cent on financial transactions - would help developing countries fight poverty, promote education and health, and meet the costs of combatting climate change.

Such a tax on all financial movements would be "impossible to feel," he said, explaining that it produces just 5 cents "on a movement of a thousand dollars, a thousand euros."

Kouchner told reporters after meeting U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that France has been working on the tax idea for a year and hosted a conference in Paris in October with 59 countries as well as financial and economic experts to put together a proposal.

He conceded there is some opposition, even in liberal countries, but he predicted "all the people of the world will accept this kind of contribution."

"It will be done, believe me, it will be done. I don't know when. But I know that we (have) to rebalance the responsibility and the sufferings in this world," Kouchner said. "If it comes through this conference it will be a big, big, big, big benefit."

The secretary-general expressed hope that the French proposal "will be discussed in Copenhagen as a way to generate financial support in addition to public fundings to be provided by the governments."

Kouchner said France is also pressing for the creation of a World Environment Organization with a mandate to monitor and verify the commitments made in Copenhagen on reducing carbon emissions.

He said he thinks this idea will be developed before a conference in 2012 to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

"Obviously we need results, not only talks, but talks are very important to get results," Kouchner said.

He recalled that just two months ago the world was talking about "the coming disaster in Copenhagen."

Today, the talk is of "the huge success coming soon. Let's hope. We'll see," Kouchner said. "We are now a bit more optimistic of getting a political statement at the end of Copenhagen."

The secretary-general said that with 105 world leaders expected on Dec. 18, there is momentum to reach a strong political agreement in Copenhagen.

"The more ambitious, the stronger agreement we have in Copenhagen, the easier, the quicker the process we will have to a legally binding treaty in 2010, as early as possible," Ban said.

(7) Global financial transactions tax (currency exchange levy) mooted

Now let's tax transactions

A currency exchange levy would work politically and morally for a debt-ridden, post-crisis world

Stephany Griffith-Jones, Monday 7 December 2009 20.30 GMT

A global financial transactions tax may have seemed a utopian dream in the past. This was surprising, given that on a national level many countries have successfully implemented financial transactions taxes. Indeed, one of the most effective to date is the UK stamp duty on transactions of stocks and shares, which has raised significant tax revenue for many decades without reducing significantly the activity of the stock market. Many other countries have implemented similar taxes, either on domestic financial transactions or capital inflows.

Resistance has been greater in the past to an internationally co-ordinated tax on financial transactions, often described as a Tobin tax. However, the mood has changed dramatically since the global financial crisis. Several important players have openly backed it, including the French, German and Brazilian governments; and several parliaments, like Belgium's, have passed legislation to facilitate its implementation. Importantly, Adair Turner, chairman of Britain's Financial Services Authority, the regulator of the City of London – the world's largest foreign exchange market – has openly backed such a tax, as has the FSA chief executive, Hector Sants. Particularly significant is the fact that Gordon Brown clearly supported a global financial transactions tax as a valid option in the lead-up to the recent G20 meeting.

The reasons are clear. First, even a very small tax – say, of 0.005% – on all foreign exchange transactions of the major currencies, would generate a large amount of tax revenue, estimated at over $30bn a year. Governments, especially in developed economies, have vast public deficits and debts as a result of costly bailouts of their financial system and other effects of the crisis. They are therefore keen to raise taxes, especially those that would not be paid by most of their voters. Preliminary studies show that the largest burden of a financial transactions tax would be borne by a very small group of very rich people, who make large investments in institutions such as hedge funds, which trade currencies frequently. For a government like Britain's, which in its pre-budget report will have to grapple with the issue of reducing future public deficits in a way that does not hurt ordinary citizens, a global financial transactions tax is an attractive option.

Second, both the private and the public sector have difficulty in funding sufficient investment, particularly after the financial crisis. However, the need to expand finance for investment in low-carbon technology, especially in developing countries, is increasingly urgent. The planet really cannot wait. Providing such additional finance to developing countries for clean technologies would not only slow down climate change directly, it would also facilitate greatly the deal that should be agreed in Copenhagen between developing and developed countries to include meaningful limits on carbon emissions.

To help fulfil both objectives, an international financial transactions tax could be agreed by the governments whose currencies are most widely traded. Half of the proceeds could be kept by the country whose currency is being taxed, to reduce its budget deficit – thus replacing less desirable increases in other taxes or reductions in essential government spending, such as in health or education. The other half of the proceeds could go to an international fund to finance efficient investment in climate change mitigation in developing countries.

A third reason for a financial transactions tax, especially on foreign exchange transactions, is that it is increasingly easy to implement. The greater centralisation and automisation of the exchanges' and banks' clearing and settlements systems – as well as the greater standardisation that will imply far more derivatives transactions settled on exchanges after the financial crisis – make the collection of such a tax much easier. It also makes avoidance of payment more difficult and less desirable, as the established settlements system would offer safety for such transactions.

This is a win-win proposal, through which many would gain and very few would lose. It would show that governments can design and adopt rational solutions that favour their citizens, now and in the future. If the financial sector supports such a proposal, it will improve significantly its rather battered image, given the harm it is seen to have caused. An international transactions tax could help restore the trust in markets and governments, now undermined by the global crisis. But above all, it is economically and morally the right thing to do: the international financial transactions tax is clearly an idea whose time has come.

(8) Copenhagen plan for Global Taxation & "unelected global authority"

From Leon Andrews <> 7 December 2009 22:25 From: "Peggy" <>

Kevin Rudd's $7b UN wrangle

Andrew Bolt

Herald Sun (Melbourne)

November 04, 2009 12:00AM

NEXT month Kevin Rudd flies to Copenhagen to help seal a United Nations deal to cut the world's emissions - and to make Australia hand over part of its wealth

So keen is the Prime Minister to get this new global-warming treaty signed that he's been appointed a "friend of the chairman" to tie up loose ends.

So here's the question: is Rudd really going to approve a draft treaty that could force Australia to hand over an astonishing $7 billion a year to a new and unelected global authority?

Yes, that's $7 billion, or about $330 from every man, woman and child. Every year. To be passed on to countries such as China and Bangladesh, and the sticky-fingered in-between.

And a second question, perhaps even more important: is Rudd really going to approve a draft treaty which also gives that unelected authority the power to fine us billions of dollars more if it doesn't like our green policies?

It is incredible that these questions have not been debated by either the Rudd Government or the Opposition, whose hapless leader, Malcolm Turnbull, on Monday admitted he did not even have a copy of this treaty.

Australia's wealth and sovereign rights may soon be signed away, so why hasn't the public at least been informed?

In case you think what I'm saying is just too incredible - too far-fetched - to be true, let me quote this draft treaty.

Here is paragraph 33 of annex 1, which has already been discussed at UN meetings involving Australian negotiators in Bangkok and now Barcelona. Brackets indicate phrases which still need final agreement:

"By 2020 the scale of financial flows to support adaptation in developing countries must be [at least USD 67 billion] [in the range of USD 70-140 billion] per year."

Plus, says paragraph 17 of annex III E, developed countries such as Australia should "compensate for damage" to the economies of poorer countries "and also compensate for lost opportunities, resources, lives, land and dignity" allegedly caused by our gases.

And here comes the bill, in paragraph 41 of annex 1 of this extortion note: "[Financial resources of the Convention Adaptation Fund"] [may] [shall] include: (a) [Assessed contributions [of at least 0.7% of the annual GDP of developed country parties] ... "

In fact, deeper in the draft our bill for our "historical climate debt, including adaptation debt" climbs to at "at least [0.5-1 per cent of GDP]".

Wow. Let's do the sums. Australia's GDP is about $1000 billion a year. So this demand for 0.7 per cent of our annual wealth works out to $7 billion a year, to be handed over to a new global agency of the United Nations.

That's your money, folks. Billions to be sent to Third World governments and authoritarian regimes to allegedly deal with a warming that actually halted in 2001. And all funnelled through the UN, which brought us such fast-money wheezes as the Oil-for-Food corruption scandal.

Never have the Third World's demands for the First World's cash been so brazen.

But wait, there's more. Because never has the Left's mad goal of world government been so close, either.

This draft treaty, on which Climate Change Minister Penny Wong has worked, also calls for the creation of a new "board" of global warming bureaucrats appointed by the countries signing the Copenhagen deal.

The powers this board will have over us are astonishing. For a start, it will check our emissions, and could "impose financial penalties, at a minimum of 10 times the market price of carbon, for any emissions in excess".

Work it out: if we exceed our emissions target by, say, as much as Rudd warned two years ago we'd overshoot by 2012, we'd be up for a fine of $1.4 billion even with the very lowest carbon price under Rudd's plan.

Even more outrageously, this new world body could impose "penalties and fines on non-compliance of developed country parties" such as Australia that failed to honour "commitments to ... provide support in the form of financial resources, technology transfer and capacity building".

All this gives a remote and unelected world body a huge and unprecedented say in how we run our own economy and our foreign affairs. For instance, any Australian government that decided to keep gassy coal-fired power stations running to avoid blackouts or to save Australian jobs potentially faces huge fines from foreigners.

Likewise, if it stopped handing over technological breakthroughs to a China or some African leader it no longer trusted, it could be fined again.

But wait, there's still more.

You'd think this draft treaty that Rudd has worked on would at least give us a say over how our billions are spent.

But no. UN bodies are already notoriously hard for any one nation to supervise or restrain.

Even the United States, the biggest donor of all, could not stop the corruption at UNESCO two decades ago, and was forced to walk out in protest. Nor could it stop dictatorships such as Libya and Cuba from later holding key roles in the UN's human rights bodies.

And with this new global warming body, the vote of the paying West will be overruled even more decisively by the spending rest.

Under this draft treaty, the new board's biggest spending arm - the "adaptation fund" - will be managed by a "governing board comprising

three members from the five United Nations regional groups, two members from small island developing nations and two members from the least developed countries".

That formula means the industrialised nations which pay most could hold just one of the nine seats on the body which will then spend their cash. Our cash.

That's the treaty being prepared for the Copenhagen meeting. That's the billions we risk having to hand over. That's the power we risk losing over our own affairs.

Now ask: why hasn't this been the subject of furious debate? Where's the Government? Where's the Opposition?

Well, here's Rudd's one response to this threat, given only this week: "At this stage there's no global agreement as to what long-term financing arrangements should underpin a deal at Copenhagen."

That's a "trust me", with no bottom line. In fact, Rudd is already reaching into his - your - wallet: "Australia, once a global agreement is shaped, would always be prepared to put forward its fair share."But how much? Seven billion dollars a year? Five? Three? Hello?

As for Turnbull ... well, it's tragic.

Badgered by Alan Jones on 2GB on Monday on this very point, he said: "Of course the poorest countries are going to need assistance ... (But) there is no way that anything like this would be accepted without extensive debate."

So where is that debate, Malcolm? Why aren't you screaming from the rooftops for reassurances that our wealth won't be squandered and our powers handed over?

Just this week the European Union said it would pay its share of an

$82 billion cheque to this new body if countries such as ours come on
board, too - so who's applying the brakes?

Not our politicians, for sure.

So if you oppose this surrender of our billions and our freedom, better start saying so now, before it's all too late.

(9) Airlines fear Tax of $4-5 per international airline ticket

Airlines' concerns grow of global tax support

By Pilita Clark, Aerospace Correspondent

Published: December 7 2009 02:00 | Last updated: December 7 2009 02:00

Some of the world's leading airlines are becoming increasingly concerned the summit will back a global aviation tax to help poorer nations combat climate change.

Although detailed funding decisions are not expected to be finalised at the Copenhagen summit, several aviation tax options have stayed in the official negotiating text. One is for a levy on all air fares except flights to or from poorer nations, and another is "in the order of $4 to $5 per international airline ticket".

"We certainly don't want a levy, although unfortunately there's some risk that that could occur in Copenhagen," Andy Kershaw, British Airways manager of environment policy, told an Institute of Economic Affairs conference in London last week.

Virgin Atlantic is also worried. "We would hope that the politicians would recognise the limitations to any global aviation tax," Steve Ridgway, chief executive, told the Financial Times. "Any carbon tax or levy is a blunt instrument which won't necessarily deliver any climate change benefit."

US airlines, meanwhile, have been lobbying Todd Stern, US special envoy for climate change, urging him to dismiss what the Air Transport Association of America calls "an exorbitant tax to fund climate change adaptation measures in developing countries". This is a reference to the "international air passenger adaptation levy" proposed on behalf of several countries by the Maldives, where leaders fear their Indian Ocean islands will be submerged by rising sea levels unless radical adaptation steps are taken.

Backed by other developing nations, the levy is projected to raise initially up to $10bn annually to help poorer countries cope with climate change.

Finding the money to help developing countries tackle global warming has been a critical part of Copenhagen talks, where delegates from more than 190 nations will try to forge a global deal on greenhouse gas emission targets to replace the 1997 Kyoto protocol, whose first commitment period expires in 2012.

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