Massachusetts leads with groundbreaking climate change finance bill

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Bill in state legislature would allow taxpayers to donate directly to help most vulnerable countries

Oxfam is calling on members of the Massachusetts House and Senate to support a groundbreaking bill that would allow Massachusetts taxpayers to directly support donations to countries vulnerable to climate change. Oxfam America’s President and CEO Abby Maxman submitted written testimony in a Massachusetts Joint Committee on Revenue hearing on the bill today.

The legislation, House Bill 2833 (H.2833) and Senate Bill 1796 (S.1796), proposes a voluntary check-off option for Massachusetts residents to donate their tax return to the Least Developed Countries Fund (LCDF), a UN fund dedicated to helping those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. If passed, Massachusetts would become the first US state to enact a check-off box on tax returns specifically for climate finance.

“Climate change knows no borders. It doesn’t care if you live in Boston or Bangalore,” wrote Maxman in her testimony. “But while the impacts of the climate crisis are being felt by every human on earth, they aren’t distributed evenly. That’s why this bill is so important.”

The poorest half of the world’s population is responsible for only a small fraction of CO2 emissions but are likely to feel the worst impacts. And without adequate investments in climate adaption efforts, an additional 100 million people could be living in extreme poverty by 2030, according to the World Bank.

International climate finance is critical to a just and adequate global response to climate change – and in many countries is what makes climate action possible. However, an Oxfam analysis found that only around a fifth (20.5%) of international climate finance goes to Least Developed Countries.

Since its creation, the LDCF has funded over 250 projects with approximately $1.7 billion in grants, benefiting over 50 million people in Least Developed Countries. Additionally, the LDCF has one of the largest portfolios of adaptation projects in Least Developed Countries in the international finance community. These adaptation projects are crucial to support countries in building resilience to the climate impacts that are already gripping their communities.

The legislation to be considered today was introduced Representative Antonio F. D. Cabral, Representative Tram T. Nguyen and Senator Michael J. Barrett.

“By passing this bill,” wrote Maxman, “Massachusetts can empower vulnerable people across the world, support the Paris Agreement and provide a leading example of state-led climate action that will be acknowledged globally.”

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