New report offers solution to climate change deadlock

Campaigns and Advocacy, Media Releases article written on the 11 Jun 2009

A new report launched today (Thursday 11 June) could break the deadlock at the heart of the UN climate talks currently underway in Bonn – who is going to cut emissions and who is going to pay.

The report, Hang Together or Separately? – How Global Cooperation is Key to a Fair and Adequate Climate Deal at Copenhagen, outlines a fair way to deliver the emissions cuts which the science says are needed to avoid catastrophic climate change.

The Oxfam report’s proposals include a new Global Mitigation Finance Mechanism which would use money from the sale of carbon permits to enable developing countries to reduce poverty and progress development whilst contributing to global emissions reductions.

The report shows:

• In order to avoid catastrophic climate change, developed countries – responsible for three-quarters of carbon currently in the atmosphere – must collectively cut their emissions by at least 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020, with a majority of these reductions occurring domestically;

• Australia would need to increase its 2020 emissions reduction target from the current maximum target of 25, to 40 per cent;

• Developing countries also need to contribute to global emissions reductions. Oxfam proposes overall emissions cuts in developing countries of 15 – 30 per cent below business as usual by 2020. However, poor countries need help from developed countries to make this happen;

• The report proposes a new Global Mitigation Finance Mechanism that would use money from the sale of carbon permits (allocated under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) to help poor countries finance the necessary emissions reductions and adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change. At least $187 billion (US $150 billion) globally would be needed a year, a relatively small amount compared with the cost of inaction – which economist Sir Nicolas Stern estimates could be as much as 5-20 per cent of global GDP – and the trillions of dollars that were found to bail out developed country banks;

• The world’s poorest countries, such as the Philippines, Vietnam and Nigeria, would receive 100 per cent of the funding they need to shift to a low carbon development path. However, more advanced developing economies such as Brazil and China would be expected to fund a proportion of the costs, depending on their economic capabilities.
Oxfam Australia climate change spokesperson Julie-Anne Richards, who is in Bonn, said a global climate deal was due to be finalised in Copenhagen in December but negotiations were moving at a snail’s pace.

“The deadlock threatening these talks must be broken if we are to have any hope of avoiding a human catastrophe,” she said. “This report provides a way forward.”

Ms Richards said that as a high per capita polluter, Australia’s fair share of finance towards adaptation and emissions reductions in developing countries would amount to $4.3 billion (US $3.5 billion) annually, from 2013 when the new global climate deal began.

“This amount equates to the value of free permits that Australia’s proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme would be giving to big polluters in 2013, which is the year a new global climate deal would come into effect,” Ms Richards said.
“Many developing countries have already made significant steps to reduce emissions and signalled their willingness to discuss further action – provided that developed countries provide financial and technological support. For example, Mexico has already committed to halving its emissions by 2050 and China is a world leader in renewable energy investment – investing $12 billion into renewable energy in 2007.”

Developing countries throughout the world – from the small nations of the Pacific to the nations of Sub-Saharan Africa – have contributed least to the problem of climate change, but are bearing the greatest impact of climate change through rising sea levels, desertification, worse storms and food and water shortages.

Read the report

For more information or to arrange an interview contact: Laurelle Keough on 0409 960 100 or laurellek@oxfam.orga.u