People gather for a demonstration at COP25 in Madrid,

4 December 2019, Madrid, Spain: People gather for a demonstration at COP25 in Madrid, under the slogan of 'Make Them Pay', urging that the big polluters of the world cease to pollute, while helping to finance efforts for climate justice. LWF/Albin Hillert

“Making historical carbon emitters and polluters pay through taxation – as called for by the ecumenical Zacchaeus Tax campaign – could raise the critical resources needed to address the root causes of climate change,” emphasised WCC programme executive for economic and ecological justice, Athena Peralta during the side event.

We need to address the root causes of climate change. And this ultimately means building a different economy that meets the needs of all and nurtures our only ecological home,” Peralta concluded.

The Bridgetown Initiative aims to mobilize private finance for climate transition and country resilience. However, Bhumika Muchala from Third World Network questioned whether the initiative could fall into the same old frameworks, creating new creditors and debt mechanisms.Are the principles of private finance” – such as profit maximisation – “compatible with financing public goods,” including climate protection? Muchala asked.

Liana Schalatek from the Heinrich Boell Foundation emphasised that the provision of climate finance by wealthy countries to vulnerable countries is a matter of climate justice.” With over 90 percent of climate finance currently in the form of loans, comprehensive debt cancellation must be part of the solution. In other words, climate justice and debt justice go hand in hand,” Schalatek added.

Another side event—virtual and co-organised by the WCC, the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University, the G20 Interfaith Forum, and Jubilee USA—brought together experts, civil society representatives, and government officials to engage in critical conversations on climate finance.

The Zacchaeus Campaign advocates for tax justice and reparations, calling for a global tax and economic system that delivers equity and makes reparation for exploitation and injustice. The campaign seeks to enact progressive wealth taxes, curb tax evasion, implement carbon and pollution taxes, and impose a financial transaction tax to curb harmful speculative activities.

Learn more about the Zaccheaus campaign here

More information on the IMF and WB Spring Meetings here