The Government’s proposal of offering developing countries a more flexible way to meet emissions reductions is a step towards removing one of the obstacles in the lead-up to the UN climate negotiations in Copenhagen, but fails to address the key sticking point of financing for developing countries.
Oxfam Australia climate change spokesperson Kelly Dent said it was good to see the government acknowledge that developing countries should not have to commit to binding economy-wide emissions reduction targets.
“However, Australia is still dodging the issue of financing for developing countries, which is a crucial roadblock in the climate negotiations,” Ms Dent said.
“Developing countries are still bringing much of their populations out of poverty and have to be flexible with how they are going to contribute to emissions reductions and develop on a low carbon pathway.
“However, they need to know what financing developed countries like Australia are willing to commit to in order for them to do so.
“Asking a developing country to adapt to climate change and contribute emissions reductions without the financing on the table is like asking them to take out a mortgage on a house without ensuring they have the means to make repayments.”
People in poor countries are least responsible for causing climate change but are bearing the brunt of its impacts, from more frequent storms and cyclones to increased drought.
In a report last week, Beyond Aid: Ensuring Adaptation to Climate Change works for the Poor, Oxfam Australia warned that unless financing to help developing countries adapt to climate change and reduce their emissions was over and above existing aid commitments, the fight against poverty would be reversed.
“Unless Australia and other developed countries commit extra money to help people in poor countries adapt to climate change, more people would be plunged deeper into poverty,” Ms Dent said.
“Importantly, aid must be increased, not diverted. The Australian Government is still silent on whether or not climate financing will be additional to existing aid commitments.
“Australia could contribute a big step forward to achieving a global climate agreement if it shows it is willing to commit to significant climate financing in order to meet Australia’s international obligations.”
Oxfam Australia also is taking part in awareness-raising events on climate change across the globe today as part of the Global Call for Climate Action.
For more information, please contact Laurelle Keough on 0409 960 100 or via email