The Climate Damages Tax: A guide to what it is and how it works (2024)

There is a price for heating up the planet. Currently it is borne to a vast extent by the populations affected by ever-intensifying climate impacts. Although their products are the root cause of the crisis, to date, the fossil fuel producers have gotten away with not paying. The Climate Damages Tax (CDT) proposal, underpinned by the Polluter Pays principle, makes the case that it is high time for the producers to bear a substantial proportion of the costs for losses and damages that result from the burning of fossil fuels. The CDT is a fee on the extraction of each tonne of coal, barrel of oil, or cubic meter of gas. The report proposes that the substantial additional revenue raised is allocated in two ways. Firstly, to boost finance for the newly set up Loss & Damage Fund allowing richest, most polluting, countries to make their contributions without unfairly costing their citizens. Secondly, it will generate a significant domestic dividend that can be channelled to climate action nationally, helping to pay for the necessary support for workers and communities to transition away from fossil fuels, towards green energy and transport. The report sets out how the CDT would work and its considerable revenue potential.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Executive Summary – The Climate Damages Tax: A guide to what it is and how it works (2024)

REPORT: The Climate Damages Tax: A guide to what it is and how it works (2024)

Lessons from COVID-19 for addressing loss and damage in vulnerable developing countries

This is the first in a series of 3 briefings under the banner: Unpacking Finance for Loss and Damage, produced by Stamp Out Poverty, Heinrich Böll Stiftung (Washington, DC), ActionAid International, Bread for the World and Practical Action.

This briefing examines how the size of the Covid crisis and the level of required response teaches us to reset our level of ambition, both to speed up and scale up  climate action to meet the challenges of loss and damage.

Read the report here.

UN report on Human Rights and a Sustainable Environment (2019)

Read the report on the climate crisis and human rights by David Boyd, UN special rapporteur on the environment and human rights. The report illustrates the devastating impact of the globall climate emergency on human rights, and proposes practical steps to: address society’s addiction to fossil fuels; enhance adaptation to protect vulnerable people; ramp up climate finance; finance loss and damage; and empower UN institutions.

Read the report here.

IPCC Special Report on 1.5'C of Global Warming

Read the Special Report on 1.5’C of Global Warming, published by the International Panel on Climate Change in 2018, that warns we have only twelve years left to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Fossil Fuel Companies and Climate Denial

The big fossil fuel players – ExxonMobil, Shell and others – have known about climate change since the 1970s. But they’ve done their best to obfuscate the science, paying lobbyists to delay climate action, and running a very well funded campaign to stop lawmakers from taking action.

The Center for International Environmental Law provide a detailed look at the playbook of the oil industry, and the documents they have uncovered supporting it.

Find out more about the fossil fuel industry and climate change denial here.

The #ExxonKnew campaign has uncovered how Exxon knew about climate change half a century ago. They deceived the public, misled their shareholders, and robbed humanity of a generation’s worth of time to reverse climate Change.

Find out more about how #ExxonKnew here.

Making a Killing

How much profit to the big oil, coal and gas companies make? Bucketloads! They make this profit by outsourcing the true cost of their product onto poor people in the form of climate impacts.

Read the report ‘Making a Killing’ by the Climate Justice Programme here.

Climate Action Network submission to UNFCCC (2018)

Climate Action Network – an international network with more than 1,000 member organisations in 120 countries – featured the Climate Damages Tax in their recent submission on finance for loss and damage. Their submission also talks about how to generate and deliver finance to the communities on the frontline of climate impacts.

Read the Climate Action Network report here.

Carbon Majors Report (2017)

Just who are the big polluters? Groundbreaking research finds that 100 active fossil fuel producers including ExxonMobil, Shell, BHP Billiton and Gazprom are linked to 71% of industrial greenhouse gas emissions since 1988.

The report also shows that these global-scale emissions are concentrated over a small number of producers. From 1988 to 2015, just 25 fossil fuel producers are linked to 51% of global industrial GHG emissions. The highest emitting companies over the period since 1988 include:

  • Public investor owned companies such as ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, Chevron, Peabody, Total, and BHP Billiton;
  • State-owned entities such as Saudi Aramco, Gazprom, National Iranian Oil, Coal India, Pemex, CNPC and Chinese coal, of which Shenhua Group & China National Coal Group are key players.

Read the report by the Carbon Disclosure Project here.

Climate Damages Declaration

Ahead of the 2017 UN summit on climate change (COP23) more than sixty organisations committed to work with us toward establishing a Climate Damages Tax.

These include: international organisations like Greenpeace, WWF, CARE, Christian Aid and Practical Action; global networks like Climate Action Network; regional groupings of states such as the Pacific Islands Development Forum; youth organisations such as the Caribbean Youth Environment Network, the Arab Youth Climate Movement and UK Youth Climate Coalition; and climate experts such as Naomi Klein.

See the declaration and full list of signatures here

The Climate Damages Tax: A guide to what it is and how it works (2019)

Our original Climate Damages Tax report was launched in 2019 during COP24 in Katowice, Poland. The report outlines how a Climate Damages Tax on the fossil fuel industry – those overwhelmingly responsible for the climate problem – could raise approximately $300 billion a year in revenues for loss and damage to help the most vulnerable people deal with the worst impacts of climate change, and billions more for just transition to renewable energy, jobs and transport.

Note: The updated report was published in 2024 for more details click here

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Executive Summary – The Climate Damages Tax: A guide to what it is and how it works

REPORT: The Climate Damages Tax: A guide to what it is and how it works

OPED: It’s time for those who caused climate change to pay for it

Please click here for the full data estimating potential CDT revenues.