NAIROBI, April 13 (Xinhua) -- Climate change experts on Friday called on African governments to put in place carbon pricing regulation to earn taxes from greenhouse gas emissions.
El Hadji Diagne, Lead Negotiator for Climate Change Markets, said in Nairobi that carbon pricing is an opportunity that the continent could not afford to loss.
"Put regulation framework in place to allow carbon pricing as a means of bringing down emissions and drive investment into cleaner options," Diagne said during the 10th African carbon Forum in Nairobi.
Diagne told countries to apply pricing measures, including taxation methods that are used in taxing fossil fuel to shift the burden for the damage back to those who are responsible.
He said that with the existing regional economic blocs, managing carbon pricing can be easier once the provisions are put in place.
"Regional approach is a better approach as it will help reduce unnecessary competitions amongst member countries," he noted.
The expert observed that instead of dictating who should reduce emissions where and how, a carbon price gives an economic signal that makes polluters decide whether to discontinue their polluting activity, reduce emissions, or continue polluting and pay for it.
"You will easily achieve the environmental goal in a most flexible and least-cost way to society," he added.
He told delegates that they have a better option putting legal framework in place as carbon price also stimulates clean technology and market innovation, fueling new, low-carbon drivers of economic growth.
Dirk Forrister, the CEO of International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), told African governments to put policies in place and begin to look for the right carbon investors.
"This will enable the countries to develop binding agreements that work for the benefit of populations," Forrister said.
He told African countries to borrow from Colombia, which has enacted carbon pricing that provides a direct transfer of resources from a polluting sector of the economy, mainly transportation, to projects protecting the environment.
Memory Machingambi, a senior economist for wnvironmental and fuel taxes at South African Treasury, announced that her country is set to launch the first carbon tax in the continent.
Machingambi said her government developed a national policy reform paper that contains polluter based principles.
She noted that the project that is being done in collaboration with the World Bank will offer 60 percent tax free threshold for every entity will be covered by the tax.
"We are looking for an opportunity to start collaborating with our neighbors Namibia, Botswana and Lesotho," she said.
Machingambi observed that carbon price will be tied to pro-poor programs to help fund damages they incur in their farms, health care costs from heat waves, droughts and flooding and sea level rise.
According to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC), some 40 countries and more than 20 cities, already use carbon pricing mechanisms.