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• Wish to express our deep concern over the absence of financial assistance for communities to rebuild their lives after enduring catastrophic loss and damage from climate-driven events such as super-storms, floods, heat waves, forest fires and droughts, experiencing greater intensity and frequency of extreme weather due to the burning of fossil fuels.
• Note that the fossil fuel industry has known for decades that what they produced and marketed would result in the heating of the planet; that they have made trillions in profits while funding climate denial and misinformation to prevent Governments shifting our economies away from fossil fuel powered systems; and that they have borne no responsibility or financial liability for the damage their products have caused.
• Acknowledge that the UK, and other rich countries that built their wealth from the use of fossil fuels, have a responsibility to make the largest contribution to tackling the drivers and impacts of climate breakdown.
• Observe that to halt global heating we must stop using fossil fuels; and contend that their phase out will be hastened by much greater taxation of fossil fuel extraction to make production of carbon-based power more expensive, helping to incentivise a switch to a clean and renewable energy system.
• Recall the precedent of proven international solidarity facilities, such as the Global Fund for Aids, TB and Malaria, which have a long history of life-saving support for severely impacted populations.
• Recognise the Polluter Pays Principle - the principle that the polluter must be held liable for the damage that they cause - is widely acknowledged and written into international law, with such precedents as the IOPC Funds that pay compensation to those who have suffered damage from oil pollution.
Therefore, urge the UK Government to introduce at the earliest possible time, a Climate Damages Tax on the fossil fuel industry by means of a charge on the extraction of each tonne of coal, barrel of oil and cubic litre of gas, set at a high enough rate to accelerate the switch to renewable energy and increasing each year, with the revenues divided between:
A) An International Facility for Loss and Damage1 to compensate countries and communities severely impacted by these extreme weather events caused by higher global temperatures resulting from fossil fuel pollution, while ensuring that this finance is additional, not in place of, current Official Development Assistance
B) Scaling up a just transition driven by investment in the UK economy to deliver green jobs, energy and transport, protecting and creating employment through the provision of training and designed to prevent disadvantage to low-income households.
• Call on the UK Government to use its regulatory powers to ensure that this greater taxation is paid for from fossil fuel industry profits and is not passed on to consumers.
• Further, strongly urge the UK Government to immediately end all subsidies, including tax reliefs, on the production of fossil fuels - these are a shameful misuse of public funds, perpetuating the use of oil and gas and distorting the price of energy to favour the continuation of carbon-based power; and to instead, without delay, redirect the billions of pounds each year to incentivise the switch to a renewable, clean and healthier energy system.
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images of industry by kind permission Richard Felgate.