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Experts seek inclusion of carbon pricing in climate plan

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With efforts to revise and submit its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in top gear, stakeholders have canvassed inclusion of carbon fee and dividend policy in the country’s draft.

The experts said this would boost the government’s plan to lift 100 million people out of poverty in 10 years and ensure recovery in the post-COVID-19 pandemic era.

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They stated that carbon pricing is an idea whose time has come and cannot be left out, stressing that the ambitious plan of the government can be achieved through a national carbon pricing policy; the carbon fee and dividend otherwise referred to as climate income policy.

Carbon fee and dividend is the policy proposal created by Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) to internalise the costs of burning carbon-based fuels. It’s the policy that climate scientists and economists alike say is the best first step to reduce the likelihood of catastrophic climate change from global warming as well as eliminate poverty through basic climate income.

Speaking at the first webinar on the theme ‘Understanding Climate Income’ organised by the Citizens’ Climate International, the Africa Regional Coordinator of the group, David Terungwa, said the policy is an opportunity for Africa and other parts of the world to eradicate poverty completely.

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He said adopting of the policy would be a means to recover from COVID-19 pandemic, adding that nothing stops any states in Nigeria from pricing carbon.

“Nigeria remains one of the few countries in the world that flare gas. There have been regulations for years and penalties. But gas flaring has continued without any hindrance. Companies are taking advantage of our weak laws and enforcement to continually flare gas that our people are looking for, to cook”, he said.

The Programme Director at Citizens’ Climate International, Carthy Orlando, disclosed that 36 countries have a legislative carbon pricing policy, 97 countries have carbon pricing in their NDC’s commitment to the United Nations while 61 jurisdictions around the world are pricing carbon.

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The tax on fossil fuel companies is a powerful way to stimulate clean alternatives. Handing out the revenue as an extra monthly income makes a real difference to low and middle incomes.

She discloses that the policy was adopted by 27 Nobel Prize winners, adopted by Canada and Switzerland and is high time for Europe and Africa, to follow.

She stated that the UNFCCC COP26 hosted by the United Kingdom (UK) with finalising article of the Paris Agreement of which Carbon pricing is a component, the G20 hosted by Italy, and G7 hosted by the UK makes 2021, a pivotal year.

She said there was a need to build back better for a socially just society, lobby parliament to impose a carbon income policy, which could be used to help the poor.

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The policy, she said is a centre of focus for the Canadian government’s Green House Gas Pollution Pricing Act that targets reducing GHG emission to 80 to 90 Metric Tones from 2018 to 2022.

“The carbon content of the fuel is known and the government will collect the money from carbon pollution. It sends a market signal to investors and encourages clean energy production and the government will use the money collected to fund education and other infrastructures.”

Carthy said, if the policy is embraced by countries, it would bring the world closer to the two-degree centigrade global warning limit target adding that there wouldn’t be a need for other policies to get close to the limit.

To a global climate activist, Sophia Mathur, she said,” We are in a climate emergency and we all must listen to the experts and work together. This includes listening to the 28 Nobel Prize economists and the thousands of economists worldwide who support a gradually rising fee carbon pollution with the money collected returned back to the people- which is Canada’s carbon pricing policy.

Mathur said the policy is one of the important things to do to protect the future while ignoring the consequence is evil.

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