Funds from carbon price should be used to help poor people affected by climate change: Oxfam

Media Releases article written on the 24 Feb 2011

International aid agency Oxfam Australia today urged the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee to consider directing a portion of funds raised from a price on carbon and then an emissions trading scheme toward helping poor people in developing countries adapt to the devastating impacts of climate change.

Oxfam Australia Climate Change Policy Advisor Kelly Dent said Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s announcement on the introduction of a price on carbon is an important step forward, and hoped revenue from it would be used to contribute to Australia’s international commitments to climate finance.

“The Australian government has committed to contribute to a $US100 billion fund to help adaptation and mitigation in developing countries, but so far has not announced how it plans to source this money,” Ms Dent said.

“We hope these new schemes will be used to help meet these commitments as poor people in developing countries are facing increased floods, droughts and other impacts of climate change and desperately need support now,” Ms Dent said.

Ms Dent also said Australia is currently on a course which increases its emissions and that the scheme must be used to reverse this trend.

“In their deliberations over the architecture of a carbon price and emissions trading scheme, the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee must not lose sight of the overall goal to deliver meaningful reductions in carbon pollution,” Ms Dent said.

“At the moment, Australia is on course to actually increase its emissions by around 19 per cent on 1990 levels by 2020,” Ms Dent said.

“As the biggest carbon polluter in the developed world on a per-capita basis, Australia has an obligation to set the bar high.”

Ms Dent said that action on climate change was more urgent than ever.

“Globally 2010 was the hottest year on record and more than twice the number of people died due to weather related disasters – such as floods, storms and droughts – than in 2009,” Ms Dent said.

“Current science says that developed countries like Australia need to cut their emissions by 40 per cent below 1990 levels for the world to avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate change.”

Kelly Dent is available for interview. For interviews or more information, please contact Oxfam Australia Media Coordinator Sunita Bose on 0407 555 960.