We want this to be the last useless Climate change conference - A global carbon pricing system is needed

By Andrea Salimbeni and Marco Cappato 

A few weeks before the 27th Conference on Climate in Egypt, there is no good news for the world population: global greenhouse gas emissions are increasing. Still. After the slight reduction due to the pandemic in 2020, global per capita CO
2 emissions are bouncing back to the pre-pandemic levels. Fossil fuels consumption, mineral extraction, and waste landfilling, they get year by year more intense. And the global temperature is increasing. Still.

In these times of conflict and economic warfare, global warming is the sole, common emergency in place in all world nations. For this reason, we want this to be the last useless Climate change conference.

This letter is addressed to those countries with the highest emission per capita: Canada, Australia, USA, Russia, China, Europe. Together, they represent about one-third (30-32%) of the world population but account for more than half (55-60%) of the world's CO2 emissions.

In particular, among these countries, Europe is lacking in resources, and its economy is based on a strong import of minerals and fossil fuels. So far, the affordable prices of energy resources, which allowed the EU economy to prosper, have been available thanks to the lower manpower costs and to reduced protection of workers, in those non-democratic countries which are still our primary energy providers. The recent happenings demonstrated that this economic system is not only to be responsible for global warming and environmental pollution, but also for conflicts and economic instability. For a peaceful energy system, energy security should be re-defined including human rights and environmental respect, instead of focusing on stability, and affordable prices only, so that our economy will no longer be based on resources coming from countries where human rights are not respected because purchasing those materials means financing conflicts and abuses. 

In the last decade, Europe has been engaging more than other countries to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. In particular, the EU carbon pricing system, the ETS, which put a price on CO2 for large energy and industrial emitters, partially discouraged the consumption of fossil fuels. Putting a global price on CO2 emissions is recognized to be a solution to fight climate change and fossil fuels. However, the EU ETS was demonstrated to be not sufficient. Like in the post-pandemic period, the energy crisis pushed governments to pursue the wrong direction, providing subsidies and supporting measures to fossil fuel producers and consumers in the name of energy security and economic growth, forgetting the climate emergency. According to the European Court of Auditors, (2022), fifteen EU member states gave more subsidies to fossil fuels than to renewable energies in 2020. In total, the EU countries spent 55-58 € per year on fossil-fuel subsidies over the last decade. During any emergency period, the price of CO2 is seen as an obstacle to the economic growth of the EU industry sector, a huge risk for the competitiveness with other large, powerful, emitting countries. Moreover, Europe emits only about 7% of the world's CO2 emissions. It cannot fight global warming alone; and even if the EU ETS is the largest carbon pricing system worldwide, this instrument becomes effective against global warming only if adopted at the world level.

It is for this reason that, in this letter, we ask for a global Carbon Pricing agreement. A global agreement of the United Nations on carbon pricing would be not only a disruptive action against global warming, but also a great opportunity for peace. Given the leading role of European Commission and of ETS as world largest carbon pricing scheme, we ask that EU member states take the role of leading institutions against global warming, coordinating countries towards a global action for the development of a global carbon pricing, to introduce a new fiscal system at global scale, which recognize sustainability its economic value, with greenhouse gases emissions to be priced at a minimum price of 50€/t, and reusing emissions pricing revenues to reduce tax burden on lower salaries

A global carbon pricing system will be not only a space across the planet where all countries engage to decarbonize their economy, but also a paradigm shift for the global energy market. When prices of energy sources will be equalized, energy affordability and availability will be more equally distributed among countries, we won’t be dependent on low-cost energy sources extracted thanks to disregard for human rights. 


Eumans is promoting a network of citizens and grassroots organisations to launch a new European Citizens Initiative for global carbon pricing and to stop fossil fuels. You can read the draft text at this link and you can contact Andrea Salimbeni to give your feedback and join the project andrea.salimbeni@eumans.eu