All countries must use the UN Climate Change Summit in Lima, which begins today (Monday 1 December), to resolve the impasse over ‘climate finance’, and make success possible at the critical Paris talks in December 2015, says international agency Oxfam.
In a new report, Breaking the Standoff, Oxfam details how current pledges are out of step with the magnitude of need in developing countries and calls on world leaders to outline a robust new strategy to boost climate finance – the international support to help developing countries adapt to climate change and enable low-carbon development.
Oxfam Australia climate change policy advisor Kelly Dent, in Lima for the negotiations, said developed countries promised to mobilise US $100 billion per year in climate finance by 2020, but headway in mobilising that funding had been slow. Australia still had not made a pledge to the Green Climate fund, which is crucial in meeting the US $100 billion.
“Australia must play its part and help to progress these negotiations,” Ms Dent said. “If progress is made on climate finance, the clean development that poor countries can achieve could be spectacular – Ethiopia could lift millions of people out of poverty while avoiding annual carbon emissions to the equivalent of 65 coal-fired plants. Peru could increase its GDP by nearly 1 per cent more than business as usual while halving its emissions at the same time. Indonesia could fulfill its plan to cut emissions by 41 per cent in 15 years.”
However, the US $100 billion climate promise can only be the start. Sub-Saharan African countries alone, for example, will need $62 billion per year by the 2050s to invest in climate adaptation. An effective climate policy regime will also unlock hundreds of billions more in private investments and move the world onto a low-carbon path that keeps warming below 2°C.
She said a key reason for the gap between current climate investments and climate needs was that donor countries, such as Australia, had managed to avoid accountability for their fair shares.
Too few details have been agreed by negotiators about how financial flows will be mobilised, which countries will mobilise them and which countries will receive them. This has undermined developing countries’ ability to create effective plans for their adaptation and mitigation needs.
Oxfam’s new calculations put Australia’s fair share of climate finance for mitigation by 2025 at 2.9 per cent, and climate finance for adaption at 3.25 per cent.
“The summit in Lima will set the stage for success or failure in Paris,” she said. “We need clear commitments of climate finance, focused on what developing countries actually need. Vague promises won’t help people to adapt to the harmful effects of climate change, or help countries to pursue cleaner paths to growth and development.”
Oxfam’s report offers a blueprint for progress on climate finance in Lima, showing that it is possible to protect the world’s poorest people from the worst impacts of climate change, unlock significant economic growth, and slash emissions.
Following on from the Ban Ki Moon Climate Summit and the Green Climate Fund pledging conference, the Lima Summit is the most significant negotiation before the Paris talks. Recent political announcements, including a deal between China and the US on promised emissions cuts, have offered new political momentum to the negotiations.
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