African Climate Summit Calls for Global Carbon Tax: Highlights from Nairobi Declaration



An unprecedented summit in Nairobi

The Africa Climate Summit, which recently concluded in Nairobi, Kenya, was nothing short of transformative. The Nairobi Declaration was at the center of this three-day summit. The document embodies the collective voice of African leaders, urging the international community to recognize and address the challenges posed by climate change to the African continent.

Key points of the Nairobi Declaration

At its core, the Nairobi Declaration urges significant polluters around the world to extend their support to less economically strong countries. Despite contributing minimally to global carbon emissions, these countries bear the brunt of climate-related adversities. African leaders have now made a clarion call: they want this declaration to be the foundation of their negotiations at the upcoming COP28 summit.

Why climate action funding is essential

One of the key themes of the African Climate Summit was the dire need for secure financing. The funding will help nations adapt to worsening weather conditions, conserve their invaluable natural resources, and launch renewable energy ventures. Given Africa's vulnerability to the effects of climate change, the urgency is clear. Shockingly, the continent receives only 12 per cent of the $300 billion it needs annually to deal with these changes.

Proposal for Global Carbon Taxation Regime

To address these challenges, the Nairobi Declaration offers a revolutionary idea: the introduction of a Global Carbon Taxation Regime. The tax would not be limited to fossil fuel trading, but would extend to maritime transport, aviation and would potentially be boosted by a global financial transaction tax. Such measures are designed not only to secure large-scale financing for climate projects, but also to insulate tax increases from the uncertainties of domestic and international politics.

Global welcome of carbon taxing

While about two dozen countries have adopted carbon taxes, the notion of a worldwide carbon tax system has not gained wide acceptance. Previous efforts, such as those proposed by the European Union, aimed to channel money from these taxes toward environmental initiatives. However, unanimous agreement remained elusive.

Critics and lawyers speak

Gracia Machel, a prominent human rights advocate, sees the Nairobi Declaration as an important leap forward, stressing that Africa is not just a passive recipient. He declared, "Africa is not here to help. Africa is here to offer investment, to offer opportunities to offer solutions." However, while many applauded the call for a global carbon tax, some sectors expressed concerns. He cautioned against adopting half-measures such as carbon credits that offer superficial solutions without bringing substantial change to polluters.

Pledge: Investing and more

During the summit, international organizations ranging from governments to private investors pledged an impressive $23 billion to green projects. A substantial portion of this amount was dedicated to a significant carbon market initiative. Yet, African leaders unanimously agree: this is just the tip of the iceberg. For meaningful change, more comprehensive systemic changes are needed.

Summit Conclusions and Public Reception

Although the summit was largely successful, it was not without criticisms. Some analysts are of the opinion that not enough emphasis was placed on practical solutions to help Africans combat extreme weather conditions. Protests also broke out outside the venue, with demonstrators denouncing Africa's decision to give carbon credits to foreign countries.

In addition, foreign entities such as the United Arab Emirates have already paid substantial amounts to purchase carbon credits from the Africa Carbon Markets Initiative (ACMI). This commitment adds another layer to the multi-faceted story of Africa's stand on climate change and global cooperation.


The Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi has undoubtedly set the stage for decisive climate action discussions in the near future. The Nairobi Declaration, with its call for a global carbon taxation regime, reflects Africa's proactive approach to tackling climate change. It also emphasizes the continent's intention to become not just a passive participant but a key player in global solutions for a sustainable future.


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