Online conference: How to pay for the climate transition

10 - 11 December 2020

Online conference: How to pay for the climate transition

Event description

DOWNLOAD the full programme here

As the climate crisis comes into ever sharper focus the question of how we pay for a just transition takes on an ever-greater urgency. Plenty of voices tell us that the costs are just too high, especially in the era of Coronavirus – or, more soothingly, that the market will provide. But we cannot afford despair or complacency. It is now time to plan, and to act.

Many people think that economic justice is merely a nice add-on to the climate fight. But if these costs are hoisted onto the shoulders of middle and lower-income groups, then – as the Gilet Jaunes (or Yellow Vests) protests in France showed – hardworking citizens will become cynical, and prey to demagogues, climate deniers and lobbyists who would overturn progress. Tax justice, economic justice, and climate justice therefore must be joined at the hip. There is no other way.

“[They] worry about the end of the world. We worry about the end of the month.”

Gilet Jaune/Yellow Vest protester, 2019

To stave off planetary emergency, we must overhaul old ideologies and change the structure of our economies. We need far greater transparency and accountability, sharp reductions in concentrations of economic power, and tax systems that favour ordinary people and shift the burden towards the polluters and those most able to pay. We must tackle “financialisation,” the increasing role of finance and certain financial techniques, institutions and actors in the real economy which specialise in extracting wealth from others at the expense of the underlying economy – and the environment.

This year Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, said that the climate crisis could be “the greatest commercial opportunity of all time.”  It may well be. But the central question is: opportunity for whom?

This conference brings together leading academics, experts and activists to propose tangible policy ideas, specific ones such as carbon taxes, subsidies and citizen dividends, as well as larger macro-economic shifts essential for tacking the climate crisis. This event will address these key questions:

  • How can fiscal, regulatory and monetary policies be used to end the fossil fuel era without laying the burden of the transition on lower and middle-income groups?
  • How do neoliberalism and laissez-faire economics block us from achieving an economically just climate transition?
  • What can be done to make finance the helpful servant of climate policies, rather than their tyrannical master?
  • How can we shift the “Overton Window” and amass the political will to allow the alternative economic approaches that are necessary for financing the climate transition?


Chien-Yi Lu

Associate research fellow, Institute of European and American Studies, Academia Sinica

Gail Bradbrook

Co-founder, Extinction Rebellion

Jacqueline Cottrell

Environmental policy consultant

John Christensen

Director and Chair of the Board, Tax Justice Network

Laura Merrill,


Molly Scott Cato

Professor of Green Economics, Roehampton University

Naomi Fowler

Creative Strategist, Tax Justice Network

Nick Shaxson

Author, Tax Justice Network

Peter Bofinger

Professor of Monetary and International Economics, University of Würzburg

Rose Bridger

Author and Coordinator, Global Anti-Aerotropolis Movement

Sven Giegold

Member of the European Parliament - Greens/EFA Group


  • 14:00 - 17:30 GMT Download the full programme below
  • 14:00 - 17:30 GMT Download the full programme below

Suggested material

Tax Justice Network Climate Conference Programme