In January, the United Nations launched a “climate justice” campaign to end global warming and put a price on carbon emissions.
The campaign, led by a coalition of environmental and human rights groups, was intended to “end fossil fuel subsidies, promote renewable energy and create a sustainable economy that delivers for all.”
But now, as President Donald Trump prepares to sign an executive order on his second day in office, the UN’s World Resources Institute has warned that a carbon tax would cause an “unprecedented crisis” for the world’s poor.
In an article for the Institute, which is funded by oil and gas companies, the group said a carbon dioxide tax would force the world to make drastic changes in how it finances its economy, resulting in a loss of income for the bottom 99 percent.
The article cited the examples of Indonesia, where a carbon fee would result in the death of as many as 1 million people; China, where it would kill as many 1.5 million; and India, where more than 400,000 people die every year from heat waves.
“With a carbon price, the world would be forced to make serious choices about how to redistribute its wealth,” the group wrote.
The UN, however, pointed out that its carbon tax proposals “could lead to a dramatic shift in global economic dynamics, with the global economy becoming more dependent on fossil fuels.”
It added that the global price on CO2 would be the same regardless of the political position of the countries participating in the international community.
While the United States, Australia, and Germany are the biggest emitters of CO2, they have all said they will not implement a carbon pricing system because it would lead to “a runaway economic growth in the developing world.”
Trump’s executive order would make the U.S. the world leader in cutting carbon emissions and would also direct the Environmental Protection Agency to make the United Kingdom, Germany, and Canada the top three emitters, the organization said.
“If the U,S., Canada, or Australia continue to increase their emissions, we will likely be the last major emitters on Earth, and the world will become a carbon-free economy,” the organization wrote.