Commonwealth Carbon Tax Model Law

Cover image of Carbon Tax Model Law

The negative effects of climate change on nature and humankind are wide-ranging and multifaceted, and it is accepted that the most vulnerable communities, who have contributed the least to the causation of climate change, are likely to be disproportionately affected by these adverse effects. It is insufficient for only certain countries to take action to mitigate the causes of climate change; rather it is urgent that a global effort is mobilised.

The Paris Agreement, which all 56 Commonwealth member countries have ratified, commits signatories to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Signatories to the Paris Agreement are required to submit nationally determined contributions (NDC) every five years containing mitigation commitments for the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. To meet these commitments, it is necessary for Commonwealth member countries to put in place carefully considered legal frameworks and policies to reduce their emissions and limit the pace of climate change.

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A carbon tax increases the price of emitting greenhouse gas and promotes switching to low carbon sources of energy and energy efficiency. In addition to supporting domestic mitigation commitments and limiting climate change, there are other benefits from the implementation of a carbon tax, including increased revenue and improved human health due to lower emissions. Carbon taxes are also more straightforward to administer than emissions trading schemes. Revenues from a carbon tax can be used to finance numerous policies, including mitigating any impact of the carbon tax on low-income households, investing in the low-carbon energy transition, and mitigating the harmful effects of climate change.