The Rudd Government must use some of the pot of money left from its ETS backflip to help international efforts to tackle climate change, rather than redirecting international aid to help pay for Australia’s global responsibility.
Oxfam Australia Executive Director Andrew Hewett said the reported budget savings of $2.5 billion left the Government with no excuse not to fulfill its promise under the Copenhagen Accord to provide Australia’s fair share of fast-start climate finance for developing countries.
“Unfortunately, the Australian Government looks set to contribute its share by repackaging part of its aid money in this year’s Budget,” Mr Hewett said.
“Funding to help developing countries deal with the effects of climate change must be in addition to existing aid commitments, otherwise we are forcing developing countries to make choices such as between building hospitals and building flood defences.
“The Prime Minister has said that climate change is the ‘greatest moral challenge of our time’. There is now absolutely no excuse not to provide new and additional funds in the coming Budget.
“It’s crucial that Australia meets its commitment under the Copenhagen Accord to provide finance to help people in poor countries cope with the devastating impacts of climate change and reduce their emissions.”
Mr Hewett said this was essential to re-building trust in the international process and getting negotiations back on track post-Copenhagen.
Under the Copenhagen Accord, rich countries promised US$30 billion of new and additional fast-start finance for 2010 – 2012.
“As one of the highest per capita polluters in the world, Australia has a responsibility to act. And we have the capacity to do something about it,” Mr Hewett said.
“Developing countries have contributed least to climate change and are already dealing most with its effects.”
As a leading international agency working with poor people around the world, Oxfam is seeing the world’s most vulnerable facing greater droughts, floods, hunger and disease.
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