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Driving global climate action: investigating the potential of international taxation for funding and cooperation

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By Alex Hong

· 28 min read


This commentary explores the potential of international taxation on the most polluting industries, such as aviation and shipping, as well as a carbon credit tax, to generate independent global finance for climate change action. There are possibilities that international tax revenues can add to efforts toward the global challenge of climate change. The significance of equitable tax contributions from all nations in order to foster collaboration and comprehensively solve climate challenges is also discussed. 

It also addresses the tax's problems and benefits, emphasising its potential to increase equality between the global north and the global south. This article attempts to shed light on the importance of international taxation for climate change mitigation and the next steps needed to expedite progress by giving a complete description and analysis.


The pressing need to combat climate change and transition to a more sustainable future has fuelled interest in novel funding options. The use of international taxation to fund climate action is one such strategy. This article investigates the possibilities for worldwide taxation on major polluting industries such as aviation and shipping, as well as a carbon credit tax, to provide independent global finance for climate change projects.

By investigating the possibility and ramifications of introducing an international tax by studying the existing yield of carbon pricing, which has already collected $55 billion. The article emphasises the significance of all nations making equal tax contributions in order to encourage global collaboration and handle climate challenges holistically. It also addresses the obstacles and benefits of this type of taxation, emphasising its potential to bridge the divide between the global north and the global south. This essay attempts to shed light on the importance of international taxes for climate change mitigation and the essential next steps to expedite progress through a comprehensive study.

Background on the urgency of climate change action

Climate change is an existential problem that requires immediate action on the part of governments, businesses, and citizens all across the world. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has produced dire studies showing the dire repercussions of global warming, such as rising temperatures, melting ice caps, sea-level rise, extreme weather events, and ecological changes. These changes endanger human health, biodiversity, and economic stability.

Significance of independent global funding for climate initiatives

Independent global funding is critical in advancing climate change projects. The magnitude of investment required to address climate change and promote a sustainable transition is vast, frequently exceeding individual governments' financial capacity. Independent global funding allows multiple countries to combine resources and deploy them to climate mitigation and adaptation projects.

International taxation is a critical tool for creating self-sustaining global funding for climate efforts. Countries can generate revenue streams for supporting global climate change action by placing taxes on activities that contribute to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions or resource depletion. This strategy assures equitable financial accountability and encourages community action toward sustainability.

Investigating international taxation for climate change action

The need for international taxation on polluting industries

Shipping industry's call for a global carbon tax

  • Shipping's contribution to global emissions

The maritime industry contributes significantly to global emissions. It is estimated that it contributes approximately 3% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Emissions from the industry are expected to rise further as it expands. This necessitates the installation of environmental mitigation measures.

  • The industry's commitment to emission reduction

Recognising the need for climate change action, the maritime industry has pledged to reduce emissions. The International Maritime Organisation (IMO), a United Nations specialised agency responsible for shipping regulation, has set a goal of reducing total yearly GHG emissions from international shipping by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008 levels. Achieving this goal will necessitate creative solutions as well as financial help.

  • Complexity and timeline of implementing a carbon tax in shipping

Implementing a global carbon price in the maritime industry is a difficult procedure that necessitates international collaboration. The IMO has been investigating several strategies to reduce emissions, including the possibility of implementing a market-based solution such as a carbon tax or an emissions trading system. However, achieving an agreement among member countries and adopting a taxation system takes time and needs careful consideration of economic, social, and environmental factors.

It is vital to remember that the shipping sector is worldwide, and any taxing method should be devised to eliminate competitive disadvantages for specific regions or enterprises. To design a fair and effective taxation regime, this complexity needs a comprehensive strategy that includes engagement with industry players, legislators, and specialists.

The Pacific island nations' lobbying for a $100 per tonne fee on greenhouse gas emissions from shipping is one example of an attempt to lobby for action toward climate change. This indicates the growing interest in exploring taxes as a means of incentivizing carbon reductions and funding climate change activities.

Revenues can be created by imposing a worldwide carbon tax in the shipping industry, which can then be channelled towards climate change mitigation and adaptation measures. This funding can help poor countries create greener technology, research and development activities, and capacity building.

To implement a global carbon tax in shipping, nations, industry stakeholders, and international organisations will need to work together. To guarantee that the taxing system is equitable, effective, and connected with the broader climate change goals, a comprehensive and coordinated approach is required.

The potential of carbon taxes on aviation emissions

  • Aviation's impact on climate change

The aviation industry is a significant contributor to global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It is estimated that aviation accounts for more than 2% of global CO2 emissions. Moreover, when considering the non-CO2 effects, such as contrail formation and the release of other emissions at high altitudes, the total climate impact of aviation is estimated to be higher. With the global resurgence of air travel due to the lifting of Covid19 restrictions, the number of flights will increase significantly. 

  • Criticisms of current measures and the need for additional taxation

While the aviation industry has made efforts to enhance fuel efficiency, convert to Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), and lower emissions through technological breakthroughs, the rate of emission reduction has not kept pace with the industry's expansion. Current approaches, such as carbon trading schemes and voluntary offset programmes, have not been effective in achieving the necessary emission reductions.

One of the main critiques levelled about present policies is the absence of a price signal for carbon emissions. Carbon taxes, by internalising the environmental cost of emissions into the price of air travel, have the ability to deliver such a signal. A tax on aircraft emissions would motivate the sector to cut emissions and move to cleaner technologies.

Furthermore, increased taxation can aid in addressing the issue of "carbon leakage," which occurs when flights are diverted to jurisdictions with less rigorous environmental regulations. A level playing field can be created by imposing international carbon taxes, ensuring that all airlines face the cost of their emissions regardless of their operational location.

  • Political challenges and differing approaches to international taxation

Implementing carbon levies on aircraft emissions on a global scale poses political obstacles. Because air travel entails crossing borders and different jurisdictions, governments must strike an agreement. However, different techniques and priorities among nations might make the process more difficult.

Some governments may be concerned about the possible impact of carbon taxes on the competitiveness of their national airlines or the affordability of air travel for their population. Developing countries, in particular, may argue for unique tax regimes that take their economic conditions and developmental goals into account.

International cooperation and dialogue are required to address these difficulties. 

Organisations like the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) play an important role in promoting conversations among member states about the possibility of international taxation for aviation emissions. The International Civil Aviation Organization's Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) is a voluntary programme that aims to stabilise net CO2 emissions from international aviation through offsetting, however it currently lacks a complete carbon pricing mechanism.

The European Union's inclusion of aviation in its emissions trading plan, which forces airlines to acquire permits for their emissions, is one example of development in this field. In addition, to address environmental concerns, some countries, like as Sweden and the Netherlands, have adopted or proposed domestic aviation fees. France has taken a more drastic measure by banning short-haul domestic flights (23 May 2023) between French destinations and encouraging travellers to take the train instead (if the equivalent journey by train is below 2 hours and 30mins) in an effort to cut unnecessary emissions. 

Implementing international carbon levies on aircraft emissions necessitates balancing environmental and economic concerns. It is critical to establish fair and effective taxing processes that take into account the unique circumstances of different countries and areas. The revenue generated by these taxes can be used to fund climate change mitigation and sustainable development efforts, thereby assisting in the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Investigating international taxation for climate change action

Taxation on carbon credits as a revenue source

Understanding carbon credits and their role in climate action

Carbon credits are a market-based system for incentivizing and financing projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). They represent one metric tonne of CO2 or its equivalent in emission reductions or removals. These credits are earned by participating in activities such as renewable energy projects, energy efficiency improvements, afforestation, and reforestation programmes.

Carbon credits are based on the premise of "cap and trade" or emissions trading. Governments or regulatory authorities impose a limit on the total quantity of emissions permitted, and firms or organisations are assigned a specific number of emission allowances. If they exceed their allotted limits, they must buy extra credits from companies that have successfully decreased their emissions below their allotted allowances.

Carbon credits are important in climate action because they provide financial incentives for emission reductions and provide economic value to sustainable projects. They contribute to the mobilisation of private sector investment in climate mitigation efforts, the promotion of low-carbon technology innovation, and the transition to a more sustainable and low-carbon economy.

Understanding the current revenue from carbon pricing (based on the President of the EU Commission’s recent announcement at the Paris Summit)

The European Union (EU) has been at the forefront of implementing a carbon credit taxation mechanism. As per the EU's declaration, let's assume that carbon pricing has generated 55 billion euros in income for the EU. Because carbon pricing only covers 4% of global emissions, there is plenty of room for growth. 

The effects of a 4% yield can be enormous. For starters, it reveals that a significant amount of carbon credit transactions are taking place in the market, suggesting the involvement of businesses and organisations in climate action. The tax income collected can be used to fund a variety of climate-related initiatives, such as renewable energy projects, climate adaptation measures, and sustainable infrastructure development.

Moreover, the tax revenue can contribute to bridging the financing gap for climate change action, particularly in developing countries within the ASEAN region. By channelling the revenue towards sustainable development projects, governments can enhance their climate resilience, reduce emissions, and promote green economic growth.

Extrapolating the potential revenue via carbon pricing from the rest of the world

According to EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen's panel discussion at the Paris Summit, present carbon pricing only covers 4% of worldwide emissions. This indicates that 96% of carbon emissions are still unpriced. We may anticipate a large revenue stream for supporting climate change action and sustainability transition if there is a global effort to price these emissions. This estimate implies that the tax rate remains consistent across the board.

Consider the following hypothetical scenario: the tax rate is applied equitably to only 60% of carbon credit transactions inside ASEAN. If the market tax value of carbon pricing for the 4% global emissions is assumed to be $55 billion, the potential revenue from the remaining 60% of the tax is estimated to be $82.5 billion. This would be a significant source of climate financing for the rest of the globe and ASEAN.  

This source of global revenue can be used to fund climate-related programmes such as renewable energy transition projects, clean technology research and development, increasing climate resilience in vulnerable populations, and encouraging sustainable agriculture practises. It can also be used to develop expertise and infrastructure for monitoring, reporting, and verifying emission reductions, so assuring transparency and accountability in the carbon credit market.

It should be noted that the actual money earned from the remaining 60% of global carbon pricing will be determined by a variety of factors, including the size of the carbon credit market, trading volumes, and the precise tax rate applied. Governments should carefully establish and implement the taxation system to ensure that it is fair, transparent, and supportive of long-term climate goals, while taking into account ASEAN member countries' specific situations and capacities.

ASEAN can release financial resources to accelerate climate change action and simplify the transition to a sustainable and low-carbon future by using carbon credit taxation as a revenue stream.

*Note: The figures used in this example are hypothetical and for illustrative purposes only.

Possibilities and implications of international taxation

Promoting coordinated climate change action

Funding global initiatives through international taxation

International taxation can play a critical role in funding global climate change mitigation and adaptation programmes. Countries can pool resources and create revenues to assist climate-related projects and programmes on a global scale by introducing international taxation arrangements. These monies can be used to fund clean technology research and development, encourage renewable energy deployment, assist climate adaptation measures, and facilitate capacity building in vulnerable areas.

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is one example of international taxes that supports global climate initiatives. The Global Climate Fund (GCF) was formed under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to help developing countries mitigate and adapt to climate change. It attempts to raise funds for climate projects in developing nations from both public and private sources, including international taxation procedures.

The GCF has been able to raise large funds through international taxation. By September 2021, the GCF had raised more than $20 billion, which will be used to fund various climate projects around the world. These monies go towards projects like renewable energy development, climate-resilient infrastructure, and capacity building for disadvantaged populations.

Addressing the financing gap for climate change mitigation and adaptation

The finance gap, which occurs when the required investments for effective mitigation and adaptation measures exceed the available financial resources, is one of the most significant issues in climate change response. International taxation can help close this gap by providing a consistent and predictable revenue source for climate funding.

For example, implementing a carbon pricing system, such as a carbon tax or emissions trading programme, can generate significant money. Carbon pricing money can be channelled towards domestic and international climate change mitigation and adaptation projects.

International taxation can play a crucial role in solving the finance gap for climate change action in the context of ASEAN. Climate change has made the region extremely vulnerable to the effects of sea-level rise, extreme weather events, and ecological degradation. However, many ASEAN countries have financial and capacity constraints when it comes to investing in climate-related projects.

ASEAN countries can raise funding for regional climate initiatives by applying international taxation procedures. These grants can be used to build renewable energy infrastructure, promote sustainable agriculture practises, improve climate resilience in vulnerable populations, and encourage climate adaptation technology transfer.

International taxation provides chances to encourage coordinated climate change action by funding global projects and bridging the financing gap for climate change mitigation and adaptation. ASEAN countries can acquire financial resources to speed their sustainable transition and increase resilience to the consequences of climate change by exploiting international taxation systems.

Equality and cooperation between the Global North and Global South

Importance of equal tax contributions from all nations

It is critical to emphasise the necessity of equal tax payments from all nations in the context of international taxes for climate change action and sustainability transition. To achieve global climate goals, both the Global North and the Global South must participate actively and financially. It is critical to ensure that the burden of funding climate efforts is handled equally, taking into account countries' diverse resources and responsibilities.

Due to historical industrialization, the Global North has traditionally been responsible for a substantial percentage of global greenhouse gas emissions. However, because the effects of climate change affect all nations, all governments must contribute to climate financing efforts. By implementing international taxation mechanisms, countries can ensure a fair and equitable distribution of the financial burden for addressing climate change.

Equal tax contributions from all nations assist to foster a sense of shared responsibility and collaboration in the fight against climate change. It helps countries, particularly those in the Global South, to get the financial resources required to execute climate mitigation and adaptation measures. This equality in tax contributions can help to develop confidence and foster collaboration among countries, supporting a worldwide collective response to climate change.

Accelerating cooperation and contextualization of climate issues

International climate taxes can also help to promote cooperation and contextualization of climate challenges between the Global North and the Global South. Climate change consequences and priorities differ between regions, and international taxation can help to understand and manage these various concerns.

Cooperation between the Global North and the Global South can be facilitated through sharing best practises, transferring technology, and launching capacity-building programmes. International taxation systems can help to fund information exchange programmes, technology transfer platforms, and capacity-building activities aimed at mitigating and adapting to climate change.

Contextualising climate challenges is critical to ensuring that climate financing and taxation efforts are tailored to each region's unique requirements and conditions. The Global South, particularly ASEAN countries, frequently faces unique issues due to poverty, limited infrastructure, and vulnerability to the effects of climate change. To effectively address the special issues encountered by nations in the Global South, international taxation procedures should take these contextual variables into account.

International taxation can create a collaborative approach to climate change action by fostering equality and cooperation between the Global North and the Global South. It can promote the sharing of resources, knowledge, and experience, resulting in more effective and long-term solutions.

Equal tax contributions (percentage taxed not total quantum) from all nations, as well as cooperation between the Global North and the Global South, are critical for the potential and consequences of international taxation in climate change action and sustainability transition. International taxation can encourage a more inclusive and effective response to the global challenge of climate change by assuring equitable financial contributions and encouraging collaboration.

Challenges and benefits of international taxation


Complexities in negotiating and implementing global tax schemes

Implementing international taxation schemes for climate change action and the transition to sustainability presents a number of obstacles. The complexity of negotiating and executing worldwide tax schemes is one of the key issues. Coordination and consensus are required among a diverse group of countries with differing economic interests, political priorities, and regulatory frameworks.

When negotiating international tax treaties, it is necessary to navigate variations in tax systems, legal structures, and policy agendas. To establish standard principles and guidelines for taxation, considerable talks and cooperation are required. Furthermore, governments' perspectives on the allocation of tax income may differ, making consensus-building a difficult endeavour.

To solve these obstacles, significant international collaboration, such as multilateral negotiations and the participation of international organisations, is essential. Platforms like the United Nations and regional organizations such as ASEAN can facilitate dialogue and coordination among countries to develop effective international taxation schemes.

Potential impact on industry costs and consumers

International taxes for climate change action may have an impact on industry prices and consumers. Imposing taxes on polluting sectors and carbon-intensive activities may raise the cost of production, which may be passed on to consumers in the form of increased pricing for goods and services.

Industries with heavy emissions, such as energy, transportation, and manufacturing, may face increased tax burdens. This may have an impact on their worldwide competitiveness, especially if the tax burden is not dispersed equitably among countries. As a result, industries may need to alter their operations and invest in cleaner technologies to cut emissions and lower tax liabilities.

To overcome this challenge, the design and execution of international taxation schemes should be carefully considered. Mechanisms such as revenue recycling or tax breaks for environmentally friendly practises can assist offset industry expenses and stimulate the adoption of cleaner technologies. Furthermore, international collaboration and coordination can assist in ensuring a level playing field for sectors across countries, reducing the danger of market distortions and unfair competition.

Adaptation challenges for smaller companies

Smaller businesses, particularly those in emerging economies, may confront unique hurdles in adhering to international climate change taxation schemes. These businesses frequently have limited financial resources, technological expertise, and access to long-term financing options. Compliance with complex tax requirements, as well as the price of emissions reduction initiatives, may present considerable problems.

To address this issue, it is critical to provide aid and support to smaller businesses in increasing capacity and accessing financial resources. Governments, international organisations, and financial institutions can all play important roles in offering technical help, financial incentives, and capacity-building programmes targeted to the needs of small businesses. This can assist them in transitioning to more sustainable practises while also ensuring a just and inclusive transition to a low-carbon economy.

Countries can leverage the potential advantages of such measures in encouraging climate change action and sustainability transition by tackling the constraints associated with international taxation.


Incentivizing the adoption of greener technologies

International taxation for climate change action can provide significant incentives for enterprises to adopt greener technologies and lower their carbon footprint. Countries can create financial disincentives for corporations to continue polluting by levying taxes on carbon-intensive industries. This motivates enterprises to invest in cleaner technologies, energy-saving measures, and environmentally friendly practises in order to reduce their tax responsibilities.

The European Union's Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), for example, has been effective in motivating emissions reductions in the power sector. The plan caps overall greenhouse gas emissions and assigns marketable emission allowances to businesses. The EU ETS encourages enterprises to invest in cleaner technologies and reduce emissions by requiring them to acquire additional credits if they exceed their allocated limits.

Funding climate change mitigation efforts in low- and middle-income countries

International taxes can help provide financial resources to support climate change mitigation measures, particularly in low- and middle-income nations. In executing sustainable development projects and transitioning to low-carbon economies, these countries frequently confront considerable budgetary constraints.

Wealthier countries can generate cash to fund climate change mitigation and adaptation measures in developing countries by taxing polluting businesses and high-carbon activities. Funding for renewable energy projects, forest protection programmes, sustainable agriculture initiatives, and capacity-building programmes are examples of such initiatives.

The Green Climate Fund (GCF), a United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)-established international financial instrument, is an example of international collaboration and finance for climate change mitigation and adaptation in developing nations. The GCF directs financial resources from wealthy countries to climate projects and programmes in developing countries, with the goal of striking a balance between adaptation and mitigation activities.

Driving global progress towards climate goals

By linking financial incentives with environmental aims, international taxation can help drive global progress towards climate goals. Countries can establish a price signal that reflects the true cost of ecologically damaging activities by putting taxes on carbon emissions or other forms of pollution. This encourages businesses, individuals, and governments to adopt activities that minimise their carbon footprint and help to mitigate climate change.

International taxation schemes can assist governments harmonise laws and regulations, supporting global collaboration and coordinated climate change action. Countries may provide a fair playing field for businesses and enable a more effective and equitable global response to climate change by cooperating to establish common taxation systems.

The benefits of international taxation for climate change action extend beyond individual countries, promoting collective action and shared responsibility for addressing the global challenge of climate change.

Possible mitigation for developing countries (mainly from the Global South)

International taxation, including taxes on shipping, airlines, and carbon prices, can be effective in generating revenue to fund climate action. However, it is essential to consider the potential negative impacts on poorer countries, especially concerning increased food imports and rising food prices. To address this issue and ensure the participation of less developed countries in international taxation without affecting their food prices, several possible remedies can be considered:

  1. Targeted exemptions and rebates: Implementing targeted exemptions or refunds on international taxes on critical food goods will help offset the impact on food costs. This strategy ensures that essential food demands stay inexpensive for poor populations while also generating cash from other sectors.
  2. Direct financial assistance: Direct financial assistance to less developed countries can help them cope with the possible increase in food prices caused by international levies. This aid can take the form of development assistance, grants, or concessional loans with the goal of increasing agricultural output, building infrastructure, and promoting sustainable farming practises.
  3. Capacity building and technical support: Investing in capacity building and offering technical assistance to less developed countries will help them improve agricultural production and food security. This assistance can take the form of knowledge sharing, training programmes, and technology transfer, allowing countries to enhance their agricultural practises and lessen their reliance on food imports.
  4. Sustainable agriculture initiatives: Encouraging and supporting sustainable agricultural projects might assist less developed countries in increasing local food production and decreasing their reliance on imports. Climate-smart agriculture, agroecology, and small-scale farming can all help boost food self-sufficiency and resilience to external price shocks. Farmers can also be rewarded by lowering GHG emissions from their agricultural processes and gaining access to the carbon offset market.
  5. Fair trade agreements and market access: Ensuring fair trade agreements and expanding market access for products from developing nations can provide them with economic opportunities while also mitigating the negative impact of international taxation on domestic food costs. Trade facilitation, trade barrier reduction, and value addition in local agriculture sectors can assist these countries compete in international markets.
  6. International cooperation and coordination: It is critical to strengthen international cooperation and coordination among countries, international organisations, and stakeholders in order to solve the issues posed by international taxation and its impact on food prices. Collaborative activities can aid in the identification of best practises, the sharing of experiences, and the development of cooperative policies that take into account both climate change funds and the food security concerns of developing nations.

It is vital to highlight that exact cures and techniques may differ based on the unique conditions and goals of each global south country. As a result, a thorough and context-specific analysis is required to find the best solutions for balancing climate action finance and food security.


Recap of the potential of international taxation for climate change action

International taxation has the potential to significantly drive climate change action and help sustainability transitions in ASEAN and beyond. nations can stimulate the adoption of greener technology, fund climate change mitigation initiatives in low- and middle-income nations, and accelerate global progress toward climate goals by levying taxes on polluting sectors and carbon-intensive activities. These policies incentivize businesses to decrease their carbon footprint and contribute to a more sustainable future. However, much care is needed in implementation to enable just a transition in sustainable finance and policies to take place. 

Call to action for global cooperation and commitment to implementing these taxes

Climate change requires global cooperation and commitment from all countries. It is critical for countries to work together to implement international taxation structures that are consistent with their climate goals. Setting standard guidelines, sharing best practises, and guaranteeing a level playing field for enterprises across borders are all part of this.

Collaboration among governments, industry players, and international organisations is required to effectively implement these taxes. Countries should actively participate in international debates and negotiations to implement fair and equitable taxation arrangements that take into consideration different nations' diverse socioeconomic conditions.

Urgency of addressing climate change and the role of international taxation

The importance of combating climate change cannot be emphasised enough. Global warming's effects are already being seen over the world, and ASEAN countries are particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change, such as rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and ecological disruptions. International taxation is an effective tool for funding climate change mitigation and adaptation initiatives, mobilising resources to support sustainable development, and accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy.

ASEAN countries can demonstrate their commitment to climate action, contribute to global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen their resilience to climate-related concerns by implementing international taxation policies. These policies can also encourage innovation, create green jobs, and support long-term economic prosperity in the region.

International taxation has the potential to play a critical role in tackling climate change and aiding ASEAN's transition to sustainability. Countries may reward sustainable practises, fund climate projects, and promote global collaboration by using the benefits of taxation. To secure a sustainable and resilient future for ASEAN and the world, governments, corporations, and individuals must collaborate in implementing and supporting these taxing policies.

Possible next steps to advance the implementation of international taxation for climate change action include

  • Encouraging global policymakers to engage in discussions on implementing these taxes

It is critical to engage global policymakers in discussions and negotiations to build international taxation frameworks for climate change action. This can be accomplished through international venues such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), where countries can collaborate and share their experiences and best practises. ASEAN countries should actively participate in these conversations to ensure their views are heard and their individual challenges and possibilities are acknowledged.

  • Conducting comprehensive economic and environmental impact assessments to refine taxation models

Comprehensive economic and environmental impact evaluations should be done to ensure the effectiveness and fairness of international taxation schemes. These analyses can provide valuable insights into the potential repercussions of enacting such taxes, such as the effects on industries, consumers, and the environment. Policymakers can modify and tailor taxation systems to maximise their beneficial outcomes and minimise any bad effects by analysing the costs, benefits, and unintended implications of taxing models.

  • Establishing international frameworks and agreements for coordination and enforcement

International frameworks and agreements are required for the coordination and enforcement of international taxation schemes for climate change mitigation. These frameworks can offer guidance on tax rates, revenue allocation, reporting techniques, and dispute resolution procedures. For example, the Paris Agreement offers as a worldwide framework for governments to collaborate in addressing climate change, and it can serve as a foundation for debates on international taxes. Furthermore, regional agreements within ASEAN, such as the ASEAN Economic Community, might assist member-state collaboration in implementing and harmonising taxation policies.

  • Prioritizing the allocation of tax revenues to fund climate change mitigation, adaptation, and sustainable development initiatives

Climate change mitigation, adaptation, and sustainable development activities should be prioritised in the allocation of tax funds generated by international taxes. These grants can be used for renewable energy initiatives, sustainable infrastructure development, reforestation efforts, green technology research and development, and capacity building programmes. To foster trust and confidence among stakeholders, it is critical to maintain transparency and accountability in the handling of these funds.

  • Encouraging public awareness and support for international taxation as a crucial tool for addressing climate change

Public awareness and support are critical for the successful implementation of international climate change taxation schemes. Governments, non-governmental organisations, and other stakeholders should conduct public education campaigns to inform the public about the importance of these levies in combating climate change and supporting sustainability. Public support can be gained by emphasising possible benefits such as lower greenhouse gas emissions, improved air quality, and increased resilience to climate effects, so establishing a favourable environment for the adoption of international taxation policies.

  • Reform and rethinking of the roles of multilateral development banks and the use of special drawing rights

In addition to the preceding initiatives, restructuring and redefining the responsibilities of multilateral development banks (MDBs) and the usage of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) can help to finance climate change action and sustainability transition.

MDBs, such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, are critical in mobilising money for sustainable development projects. These institutions can link their lending policies and investment criteria with climate change objectives, prioritising initiatives that promote renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable agriculture, and green infrastructure. Furthermore, MDBs can investigate innovative financial instruments such as green bonds and climate resilience bonds to attract private sector participation in climate-friendly projects.

The use of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), a reserve asset created by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), should also be revisited to address the finance demands for climate change action. SDRs can be given to nations based on their climate vulnerability and sustainable development goals, giving additional financial resources to support climate mitigation and adaptation initiatives. This can assist close the finance gap and offer much-needed resources to ASEAN and other low- and middle-income nations.

Additional financial resources can be mobilised to assist climate change action and the transition to sustainability in ASEAN by changing the functions of MDBs and investigating the potential of SDRs. This can supplement international taxation initiatives and help to accomplish climate goals.

To advance the implementation of international taxation for climate change action, a comprehensive approach is required, which includes engaging policymakers, conducting impact assessments, establishing international frameworks, allocating tax revenues, promoting public awareness, and rethinking the roles of MDBs and the use of SDRs. All these efforts toward global financial reforms and the possibilities of international taxation may help ASEAN accelerate sustainability transition and net zero ambitions. ASEAN must continue to strive to work with each other as a regional entity to yield better results – together.

illuminem Voices is a democratic space presenting the thoughts and opinions of leading Sustainability & Energy writers, their opinions do not necessarily represent those of illuminem.

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About the author

Alex Hong is the Executive Director of Digipulse Data and strategic advisor. He is the Chief Sustainability Coordinator of the Youth Networking Business Committee (YNBC). Alex is LinkedIn’s Top Voices (Green) in Singapore 2022 and represents the Global Blockchain Business Council (GBBC) as the Ambassador of Southeast Asia.

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