Brazil taxes oil to fight climate change

Posted on August 23, 2010


In Fortaleza, on the coastal edge of the dry lands of Northeastern Brazil, a region where climate change is expected to increase flooding and droughts, the Brazilian government has just made an announcement.  It will use tax revenue from oil production to fight climate change.

It is a move so breathtakingly obvious that the planet just moved two inches to the left from the combined forces of everybody slapping themselves on the forehead at once.

Brazil already has a national climate fund which they signed into law in 2009.  Next year the government is giving it $113 million, and expects in the future to raise this amount to half a billion a year.  Half of that money will come from oil royalties which the government is collecting.

The money is to be used find ways to reduce carbon emissions and adapt to climate change.

Countries like Indonesia and Bangladesh have established similar climate funds, but Brazil’s is the first to be financed with oil money.  However, in July, India launched a $1-a-ton tax on coal production which is expect raise $535 million this year alone for a green energy fund.

The Brazilian fund will be used to help in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to educate Brazilian farmers about possible changes in rainfall and weather, and to study and map where in Brazil the impacts of climate change will be greatest.

Brazilian officials announced the funding last week at an international meeting on semi-arid regions.

We await (checking our watches and tapping our feet) for similar announcements from governments that, you know, aren’t actually as dirt poor as Brazil and India.

Countries who can well afford to take action.

Like Canada.  Or the U.S.A.

And we wait. …