Australia fails to provide real increase in support for poorer countries to tackle climate change

Campaigns and Advocacy, Climate Change, Media Releases, News article written on the 01 Dec 2015

The announcement by Prime Minister Turnbull that Australia will contribute at least $1bn over the next five years to support vulnerable countries to adapt to climate change and its impacts represents no increase above Australia’s previous contributions, Oxfam says.

Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Dr Helen Szoke, who will be in Paris for the second week of negotiations, said that the funds should not be drawn from Australia’s existing aid budget.

“It is encouraging that Australia has recognised developing countries must be supported to fight climate change,” Dr Szoke said.

“However, it is disappointing that the funds committed – at least $1bn over the next five years – will be drawn from an already diminished aid budget and represent no increase to what has been committed before.

“In fact, it is far less than what comparable countries including Canada, UK, Germany and France have committed.

“Australia’s announcement today is a start, but the Government will need to commit to far more if we’re to do the right thing by poor and vulnerable communities around the world, and to do our part towards reaching a fair and effective agreement.”

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 due to climate change.

Poor people in developing countries are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, yet they have done little to contribute to it and have a lower capacity and resources to do anything about it.

Australia is also trailing the pack with emissions reduction targets that are weaker than almost all comparable countries, as well as many developing countries.

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*Between 2010/11 and 2012/13, Australia provided approximately AUD200m per year under the Fast Start Finance initiative. In 2014 Australia pledged AUD200m over four years to the Green Climate Fund, though did not provide detail of funding through other channels. Australian NGOs had urged Australia to scale-up its contribution to reach AUD1.6bn per year by 2020