Climate Change: More Will Be Needed To Support Developing Countries

Campaigns and Advocacy, Media Releases article written on the 13 May 2008

Leading aid agency Oxfam tonight welcomed the Rudd Government’s commitment of $2.3 billion on climate change, but cautioned that much more support would be needed for poor people in developing countries to adapt to the rapidly escalating impacts of climate change.
Oxfam Director of Public Policy James Ensor commended the Government on its solid climate change commitment within Australia and its recognition of the need to assist developing countries to adapt to climate change, but said that the budget support for developing countries did not reflect the level of urgency facing these nations.
“The Rudd Government has delivered on its pre-election commitment of $150 million over three years to support developing countries to adapt to the impacts of climate change,” Mr Ensor said.
“However, this level of investment will increasingly be dwarfed by the scale of need, as the effects of climate change accelerate and impact the lives of poor men and women in developing countries around the world.
“Signing the Kyoto Protocol was a good first step and spending on climate change in this Budget compares very favourably to the previous government’s $740 million package.
“However, this Budget has less than a tenth of what’s needed to tackle the problem of adaptation to climate change in developing countries.
“It is the poor who are most at risk, and will suffer most. Poor people are already bearing the brunt of the impacts of climate change in our region through more frequent droughts, floods and severe weather events.
“The injustice at the heart of climate change is that poor people in developing countries are the least responsible for causing climate change, however are the most affected.”
Oxfam Australia estimates that $300 million is needed in the current Budget for adaptation, building to $1.75 billion over the next five years. Adaptation spending should be prioritised in the areas of capacity building, disaster preparedness, livelihoods programming and migration.
As a leading agency working with communities around the world to end poverty and social injustice, Oxfam is already seeing the impacts of climate change on poor and vulnerable people in the developing world, including in the Pacific.
“Climate change is borderless, it is happening, and everyone is affected,” Mr Ensor said.
“Australia has the responsibility to act and the capacity to do so. Australia, as the second biggest carbon emitter per capita in the world and an important neighbour in the Pacific region, has a greater responsibility for addressing the problem.”
To interview Oxfam Australia’s Director of Public Policy and Outreach James Ensor, please contact Louise Perry, Oxfam Australia Media and External Relations Manager, on 0414 456 015, or Laurelle Keough, Oxfam Australia Media Liaison Coordinator – Advocacy & Campaigns, on 0409 960 100