COP17: Robin Hoods take on the 1% Bankers
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Billed as the World Congress of the Parties (COP), members of a global civil society hosted a soccer match on Wednesday outside COP17 that saw the Robin Hoods take on the 1% Bankers.
The football match was a protest aimed at drawing attention to the call for developed nations to provide funds for the green climate fund.
The green climate fund, as envisioned in the UN climate change negotiations, is a $US100-billion trust that would be contributed to by developed nations and the private sector to help fund renewable energy projects in developing countries.
However it is is still not clear if the governance and funding models for the green climate fund will be agreed at COP17.
The protesters are calling for a financial transaction tax as a way to ensure developed countries meet their climate debt.
The financial transaction tax, which has also been dubbed the “Robin Hood tax”, proposes a 0.05% tax on all financial market transactions of stocks, bonds, currency and derivatives.
At the G20 last month leaders from France, Germany, Spain, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa and Ethiopia backed using a financial transactions tax.
‘Coalition of the willing’
“It’s time to grow that coalition of the willing,” said a press release put out by the protestors in the form of Robin Hood $100-billion note.
“Rich countries must pay into the green climate fund and the Robin Hood tax is one of the essential ways to make this happen,” said the press release.
More than 60 civil society organisations have signed a letter to President Jacob Zuma asking him to show leadership by calling for the Robin Hood tax.
The letter states: “We will not accept rich countries’ excuse that the financial crisis prevents them from fulfilling their promise to deliver $100bn annually to fight climate change.”
“Raising the money to support developing countries in their efforts to climate-proof their economies and communities is a matter of economic and climate justice,” says the letter.
“We urge you to help turn the economic and climate crises into a global opportunity.”
“The Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) is a practical, effective and equitable way to ensure that the world’s richest help pay for the problems they created.”
The soccer match took place at Speaker’s Corner outside COP17 and saw eight players dressed as Robin Hoods in green tunics and pointed hats compete against eight players dressed as the 1% Bankers in bowler hats and jackets.
Bowler hats and jackets
The bankers continuously cheated their way through the game, often trying to bribe the Robin Hoods and members of the cheering crowd to get them on their side.
One onlooker commented that much like the negotiations in the ICC, the Robin Hoods are still trying to play by the rules when their opponents were clearly not.
The football match was one of many forms of protests being held at COP17 by Robin Hood tax campaigners, with some handing out Robin Hood Champions awards to countries who supported the tax. Others arranged a Robin Hood tax bulls eye target practice outside the International Convention Centre, where politicians were encouraged to try shoot the target with a tiny bow and arrow.
“The 99% bailed out the financial sector three years ago, now it’s time for the financial sector to pay their fair share towards fighting poverty and climate change,” said Jay Naidoo. “It’s clear what the people want, economic and social justice—and the FTT is just one of the ways that will get us a step closer.”
“The Robin Hood tax has the potential to turn this global crisis into a global opportunity,” said Alex Kent from the Robin Hood tax campaign.
“We’re asking the COP17 leaders to stand up for the needs of world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.”
“Under the ‘polluter pays’ principle, we’re asking them to back the Robin Hood tax as one way to fill the green climate fund, fight climate change and fight poverty.”
“The world cannot wait. There is no Planet B,” said Kent.
For the latest COP17 news and special features view our special report.