‘Robin Hood’ tax to fund climate efforts could launch in May

Leaders of France and Germany say planning is well underway with nine other EU countries

By Sophie Yeo

France and Germany want to introduce a financial transaction tax (FTT) by May which could raise billions for climate change and development aid.

“We want to wrap up (a deal on) the financial transaction tax, which has united us from the start, before the European elections,” President Francois Hollande said in a joint press conference with his German counterpart Angela Merkel.

Currently, 11 EU states are backing the tax, each of which will decide independently how they allocate the money. The UK government has declined to take part.

Developed countries have promised to deliver $100 billion of climate change aid by 2020. Many hope that an FTT covering some of the world’s largest financial centres will go some way to achieving that target.

In 2010 a UN panel featuring billionaire investor George Soros and and Larry Summers, then director of U.S. President Barack Obama’s National Economic Council, said international financial transactions tax could generate $27 billion a year.

Hollande has said that he wants 15% of the revenue raised by the tax to go towards tackling international development and climate change.

David Hillman from the campaign group Robin Hood Tax, who has been in talks with France’s development minister Pascal Canfin, told RTCC that this was “extremely likely” to go up to 20%.

Some of this may be channeled through the UN-backed Green Climate Fund, which is set to launch later this year. A three-day meeting of the GCF board is currently taking place in Bali, aiming to clarify how it will operate.

“We think there’s a high chance extra revenue might go to the Green Climate Fund,” said Hillman.

“With the pledging rounds for the Green Climate Fund coming up, this might be perfect timing with the new FTT coming on stream for them to deal with their international commitments, through allocating a proportion of the new FTT revenue in this way.”

Earlier today a actor Bill Nighy spoke out in favour of the tax today. He wrote in the Guardian that the extra funds could help “protect people from Berkshire to Bangladesh against the extreme weather events that climate is bringing.”

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