Tax justice focus
First Quarter 2020 ■ Volume 11 ■ Issue 2

The climate issue: funding a just transition (Part 1)

Financing climate justice
Editorial from James Henry

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 can be heard telling us that the costs are just too high, or, more soothingly, that the market will provide. But we cannot afford despair or complacency. It is now time to make plans, and act on them.


Fossil Fuel Subsidies and Taxation: Two Sides of the Same Coin
Laura Merrill

Generous government subsidies around the world are, even now, enabling the extraction and burning of fossil fuels that would otherwise remain in the ground. A global technocratic elite that claims to value market forces is blithely ignoring them in a way that could hardly be more ruinous. As renewables continue to fall in price Laura Merrill calls on us to pay attention to this grotesque farce, and to stop using taxpayers’ money to destroy the conditions of life.


Still a Burning Question: Fossil Fuel 6 Subsidies in Australia
Rod Campbell

After a long campaign of denial Australia’s fossil fuel lobby and its allies in the state have dropped the pretence. Of course the sector benefits from multibillion dollar subsidies and always has. Today public money still pours in, even as bushfires burn with unprecedented ferocity.


Carbon Dividends as Tax Justice
James K. Boyce

The urgent need to respond to the climate emergency is forcing rapid change on many different aspects of human life, from the generation of power to the design of transport systems and the organization of the built environment. Here James K. Boyce shows that the very way we think about property will have to change, and change rapidly, if we are stave off catastrophic rises in temperature.


Who Are the Real Extremists Here?
An Interview with Gail Bradbrook

In November 2018 some six thousand people blocked the five main bridges over the Thames in London. The Extinction Rebellion had begun. Since then acts of mass civil disobedience have proliferated throughout the developed world. In January of this year the Tax Justice Network’s podcast producer Naomi Fowler spoke with Dr Gail Bradbrook, co-founder of Extinction Rebellion, about the story so far, and the movement’s plans for the future.


What’s Your SCORE? The Case for Sustainable Cost Reporting
Richard Murphy

Accountancy was established to protect investors from fraudulent managers. As the activities of companies now exceed planetary limits, accountants must think much more carefully about their public interest responsibilities. Here one of the discipline’s most original and influential thinkers sets out the role new reporting standards could play in aiding a swift and just transition away from fossil fuel dependence.


News in brief

Always Something New (And Bad) from Britain

February of this year saw the publication of ‘The UK North Sea as a Global Experiment in Neoliberal Resource Extraction’ by Juan Carlos Boué. This exceptionally important report from Platform London and the Public and Commercial Services Union explores the UKs management of its North Sea oil reserves from the 1970s onwards. In a story that combines elements of the Resource Curse and the Finance Curse, successive governments in Westminster acted to protect the private sector at the expense of public revenues. In an eerie echo of free trade imperialism, Boué exlains how ‘the global spread of the UK governance model destabilised many key petroleum producers, whose governments found themselves starved of fiscal income. As a result ultra-liberal British-inspired policies turned out to be an authentic lose-lose proposition for all concerned. The full text is available online here.

A Green New Deal for Europe

In December of last year the second edition of ‘The Green New Deal for Europe’ was published. Described by Ann Pettifor as ‘a blueprint for bringing about an urgent, system-wide reorganisation within a short time period,’ the report is one of the most comprehensive attempts yet to describe a path away from climate disaster. The full text is available online here.

Guest Editor: James Henry
Managing Editor: Dan Hind
Contributing Editors: John Christensen & Nick Shaxson
Design and layout:
Email: info(at)
Published by the Tax Justice Network Ltd.
© Tax Justice Network 2020
For free circulation, ISSN 1746-7691