Oxfam welcomes crucial Australian support for climate fund

Campaigns and Advocacy, Media Releases article written on the 08 Jul 2009

The Prime Minister’s ‘in principle’ backing of a climate fund would be good news and could break the deadlock at the heart of global climate negotiations, says Oxfam Australia’s Julie-Anne Richards.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown reportedly said yesterday that he had won Kevin Rudd’s backing for a proposal to create the $122 billion-a-year climate change fund for poorer countries.
“Prime Minister Rudd’s in principle support for the proposed fund would be most welcome,” Ms Richards said. “It’s clear that markets can’t provide all the solutions needed to help poor countries reduce their emissions and adapt to climate change. We need government money on the table.
“With only five short months to the UN climate negotiations at Copenhagen, we now need our government to make a solid commitment to this fund, and show that Australia is willing to pay its fair share of the contributions required to help developing countries reduce their emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change.
“The deadlock threatening these talks must be broken if we are to have any hope of avoiding a human catastrophe,” she said. “A climate fund provides a way forward.”
Ms Richards said the climate funds should be channelled through the UN, so that developing countries had a voice in how the money was spent and it went where it was most needed.
Oxfam research shows that $187 billion a year is needed to help poor countries reduce their emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change.
Ms Richards said that as a high per capita polluter, Australia’s fair share was calculated to be $4.3 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,” Ms Richards said.
“Many developing countries have already taken significant steps to reduce emissions and signaled their willingness to discuss further action – provided that developed countries provide financial and technological support.”
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.
An Oxfam report released on Monday revealed farmers throughout the world are reporting that changing seasons are destroying harvests and causing widespread hunger.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will attend the Major Economies Forum in Italy tomorrow, where climate change is high on the agenda.
For more information please contact Laurelle Keough on 0409 960 100 or laurellek@oxfam.org.au