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ITF supports levy on bunker fuel

Federation backs 'green climate fund', which would include a bunker levy and possible shipping emissions tax.

Updated on 09 Dec 2011 13:14 GMT

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) says it is supporting the call for a commitment to find new sources of funding for a ‘green climate fund’ that will assist developing countries to fight poverty and climate change.

This includes introducing a levy on ships' bunker fuel and a possible shipping emissions tax, both of which the ITF believes should be ‘flag blind’ – that is, apply equally to all users.

Speaking from this week's UN COP17 climate change conference in Durban, South Africa, ITF climate change coordinator Alana Dave said: "Negotiations are at a complete standstill – despite us being in a situation where emissions are still rising, the forecasts are becoming increasingly grave, and extraordinary weather conditions are destroying jobs, homes and peoples’ lives."

She continued: "It seems as if narrow economic interests and pressure from multinationals, not least in the fossil fuel industry, are being allowed to override attempts to reach a binding agreement to protect our climate and the future of our planet."

"Despite the enormous potential for change represented by this conference, and at a time when the International Energy Agency's chief economist is warning that we only have five years left to make radical changes to avoid dangerous climate change, this event is looking more and more like one more wasted opportunity."

Also commenting from Durban, Asbjorn Wahl, chair of the ITF climate change working group, explained: "There is an urgent need for a new global agreement that is fair, ambitious and binding. We need a much more ambitious agenda, and we need it immediately. We need to plan a transition to a climate-resilient, low-carbon economy. Restructuring our economies and ambitious mitigation action are vital if we want to leave our children a sustainable world and a chance for social and development goals to be achieved."

The ITF has also organised a two day workshop on the 'reduce-shift-improve' framework which is designed to reduce emissions from transport across different transport modes and world regions.

"Our research indicates that there are many interventions that can be made in the transport sector that both cut emissions and create jobs," said Jane Barrett, policy officer, SATAWU - South African Transport and Allied Workers union.

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