“No taxation without representation.”
That slogan caused a spot of bother a few years ago – a spot of bother called the American Revolution.
Climate scientist James Hansen has called for a global carbon tax to control global warming. But how could we have global taxation when the global taxpayers man have no meaningful representation at the global level?
A global carbon tax would almost certainly have to be administered by the United Nations.
Hansen has proposed that the proceeds from the carbon tax be distributed to everyone as a kind of social dividend. This would make for a relatively simple and straightforward procedure, but there still would be opportunities for cheating.
Some organization would be needed to ensure that the tax was collected and distributed accurately and fairly.
Nation-states are represented at the UN in the General Assembly on the basis of one nation/one vote. China (population 1.3 billion) has the same vote as Nauru (population 10,000).
There is a proposal to reform the United Nations by bringing in a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA).
The membership of the assembly would be allocated roughly on a representation by population basis.
To start with, the UNPA would be an advisory body to the UN General Assembly and its members would be appointed by their respective national assemblies or parliaments. Proponents expect that, with time, it would come to have real power and its members would be directly elected by the people of the world.
There is no single, simple answer to global warming but there can be no doubt that a global carbon tax must be part of the solution.
If we are going to have global taxation then we must have global representation that is meaningful and democratic.
This in turn implies reform of the United Nations. Bringing in a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly would be a good way to initiate that reform.
A petition calling for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (sponsored by World Federalist Movement – Canada, among others) is at www.unpacampaign.org on the Internet.
An online petition (organized by your editor) that calls for a global carbon tax as proposed by James Hansen is at www.thepetitionsite.com/286/384/042/petition-for-a-referendum-on-a-global-carbon-tax/.