SCMP Admits a Regional Asian Carbon Tax Could Lead to Human Rights Abuses

Spread the love
Protesters hold placards during a rally in Sydney on July 1, 2011 against Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s plans to introduce a carbon tax. A powerful industry alliance is preparing to launch a multi-million dollar campaign designed to derail PM Julia Gillard’s plans to price carbon, reports said July 1, 2011. AFP PHOTO / Greg WOOD (Photo credit should read GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images)

From Watts Up With That?

Essay by Eric Worrall

“… However, a sufficiently high carbon tax with steady annual increases would still be the biggest game-changer.”

Climate change: region must follow Singapore’s example and enact carbon tax strategy

A region-wide carbon tax is long overdue to pave the way for a speedy reduction of emissions to protect the environment and accelerate green innovation

Chee Yik-wai
Published: 4:15pm, 11 Jun, 2023

Many people in Southeast Asia are feeling the effects of El Nino, as regional governments struggle to cope with unprecedented heatwaves. Electricity bills have shot up for many families trying to beat the heat, for example.

This raises the question of what can be done to tackle the problem. On that front, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) appears to be lagging behind the developed world in the carbon trading market and also in implementing a carbon tax.

A recent joint investigation by The Guardian, German weekly Die Zeit and the investigative group SourceMaterial has exposed the potential vulnerabilities and ineffectiveness of large-scale carbon trading projects worldwide, many promoted by Verra, the world’s biggest carbon credit provider. It found that investments by Disney, Shell, Gucci and other big corporations into Verra’s carbon credits were largely worthless, and ineffective at stopping rainforest destruction.

It also found evidence of forced evictions of local communities at a forest-based carbon offsetting project funded by Disney and jointly operated by Conservation International in the Peruvian Amazon, leading to Verra CEO David Antonioli’s resignation. This has shaken confidence in the company and the carbon trading industry.

These are the kind of issues an Asean carbon trading market could face. Thus, more collaboration is needed on evaluation standards and rules for exchange to improve pricing mechanisms. However, a sufficiently high carbon tax with steady annual increases would still be the biggest game-changer.

Chee Yik-wai is a Malaysia-based intercultural specialist and the co-founder of Crowdsukan focusing on sport diplomacy for peace and development

Read more:

I’m horrified. Are carbon taxes going to be a path to normalising human rights abuses and forced evictions? Is it going to become OK for governments and corporations to mistreat vulnerable people, providing that abuse leads to more carbon offsets?

Given renewables are supposed to be cheaper than coal, why not let simple economics drive the transition? That way greens get their emissions reduction without collateral harm to vulnerable people.

Of course, if it turns out claims renewables are cheaper are all a pack of lies, well that would explain the apparent green determination to drive acceptance that human rights abuses are less important than CO2 emissions, and their drive to coerce people to go green with punitive taxes.