Labor’s climate change plan on the right track, but short on dollars

Campaigns and Advocacy, Media Releases article written on the 25 Jul 2007

Oxfam Australia today welcomed Labor’s International Development and Climate Change plan which commits Labor to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and provide assistance for adaptation in developing countries.
Labor’s climate change plan pledges $150 million over three years to assist developing countries in the Asia Pacific region to develop climate change adaptation plans, particularly low lying countries and countries susceptible to extreme weather events.
“Labor’s commitment to develop a Pacific Climate Change Strategy is welcome, as our region is particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels and extreme weather events. More broadly Labor’s commitment to ensure climate change is a key consideration across all aspects of Australia’s overseas aid program is a good step forward” said Andrew Hewett, Executive Director of Oxfam Australia.
“There is deep injustice in the impacts of climate change. Rich countries have to a large extent caused the problem yet it is poor countries who are worst affected. This is true for now and well into the future,” said Mr Hewett.
Given that tackling climate change requires an unprecedented level of global cooperation, the ratification of Kyoto is a necessary and key step for Australia, one of only two countries in the world not to have done so, to ensure equitable solutions to climate change can be found.
“Adaptation efforts need to be equitable and Australia, as one of the highest per capita emitters in the world, has a responsibility to help those most in need. Adaptation funding is compensatory finance for damage caused from historical emissions and not just aid,” added Mr Hewett.
A recent report by Oxfam shows that the costs of adaptation in developing countries will be in the order US$50 billion per annum and that Australia’s fair share (based on our contribution as a nation to global carbon emissions) would see Australia responsible for paying for US$1.45 billion towards developing countries adaptation needs. This amount clearly dwarfs both the current contributions of the Federal Government to developing country adaptation and Labor’s new pledge of AUD$150 million over three years.
The global need to finance climate change adaptation is vast. While Labor’s plan announces some welcome initiatives to support developing countries to adapt to climate change, both major parties’ commitments to adaptation funding for developing countries have a long way to go If Australia is to pay its fair share.
For more information or to arrange an interview call Vedran Drakulic on +61 409 960 100 or +6 13 9289 9345