15 December 2019   Leave a comment

The climate meeting in Madrid was extended for 40 hours after its scheduled conclusion, but it still failed to meet important goals. The most ambitious goal was to reach agreement on Article 6 of the Paris Agreement which allows states to take actions outside of their borders (such as contributing to efforts to control deforestation in tropical forests) which would count toward their national targets for climate change mitigation. There seemed to be a clear sense that the efforts to address climate change are not effective without the participation of the US which is leaving the Paris Agreement.

“At the heart of many of the meeting’s debates was the core of the injustice of climate change: That the people who have contributed least to the problem stand to suffer the most while those who have gained the most from emitting greenhouse gases will suffer the least.

“The United States, the second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases (and the largest historical emitter), has already committed to withdrawing from the Paris agreement next year, and was one of the countries watering down provisions for compensating poorer countries for loss and damage incurred from climate-linked disasters.

“Several countries also expressed alarm that even seemingly benign language around the need for international financing mechanisms for developing countries to deal with climate change was being diluted by powerful nations.”

Reuters has compiled a number of quotations from some of the participants to the conference. The quotes capture the frustration and anger of some of the delegates over the lack of progress. The Guardian provides data which highlights the seriousness of the failure: “Research published during the two weeks of talks showed that greenhouse gas emissions have risen 4% since the Paris accord was signed in 2015, and the world will need to cut carbon by more than 7% a year in the next decade to heed scientific advice.”

Business Insider has posted an article on how payroll taxes (the taxes that go to Social Security and Medicare) have increased dramatically over the years while corporate taxes have gone down. Payroll taxes are essentially regressive since they start at the very first dollar of income but end when income reaches the $128,400 cap on taxable wages. Income and corporate taxes are supposed to be progressive, but since the 1980s the tax rates on both sources of income have been steadily decreased. According to the study “Payroll taxes made up 7.8% of national income in 2018, compared to 0.9% for corporate ones — the widest gulf in almost two decades.” It is yet another case of the poor subsidizing the rich.

Posted December 15, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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