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Found: $50 Billion For Adaptation Needs

Found: $50 Billion For Adaptation Needs

Innovative Financing Mechanisms Can Fund Adaptation Needs Without Breaking the Bank Poznan, Poland—Negotiators at the UN climate change talks must urgently endorse innovative market-based mechanisms to generate enough money for developing countries to adapt to the current and worsening effects of climate change, said international agency Oxfam today.

In a new report released today, “Turning Carbon into Gold,” Oxfam said there are ways already available to raise tens of billions of dollars that are linked to emissions reduction schemes. These would ensure that countries most responsible for emissions, and that can afford to pay, would shoulder the bulk of the obligations. At least US$50 billion per year is needed to fund adaptation in developing countries, with more necessary if a new climate change deal is inadequate at keeping global warming well below 2°C.

“Until now, the money available to help vulnerable communities cope with climate change has been shamefully small and global powers have been dragging their feet in addressing the problem. There can be no more excuses, including the current financial crisis,” said Marianne Elliott, Policy Advisor for Oxfam New Zealand. “Practical approaches are available now which could raise tens of billions of dollars from polluters without governments having to dip into national treasuries.”

The most effective and fair approach for generating adaptation financing is to link into the emissions-reduction system that would form a core part of a post-2012 agreement, where “international emissions units” are allocated to rich countries. Oxfam says that a portion of these units must be auctioned rather than given away free to countries. Oxfam estimates that more than US$50 billion could be raised each year by 2015 by auctioning just 7.5 per cent of rich countries’ international emissions units. This money should be handed to a new multilateral adaptation-finance mechanism under the UNFCCC. Other new finance mechanisms within the aviation and shipping sectors could generate another US$28 billion – US$12 billion from aviation and US$16.6 billion from shipping annually – just from rich countries. “Helping vulnerable people cope with the effects of climate change is desperately needed today because they already face increasingly severe and worsening climate change impacts,” said Elliott. Poor countries need help to build up their resilience by, for example, upgrading national flood early-warning systems, planting mangrove ‘bio-shields’ along coasts to diffuse storm waves and growing drought-tolerant crops. If countries fail to adapt to the new reality of climate change, they will suffer far greater damage from floods, droughts and hurricanes, and at much higher cost, both in human and financial terms.

“It is extremely important for negotiators in Poznan to reach a broad understanding about how best to raise adaptation money because they have paid lip-service to the issue for too long. It is a vital part of the overall deal – a litmus test of how serious rich countries are in tackling the problem,” Elliott said.

“Poor people around the world bear the brunt of climate change and yet they are least responsible for global warming,” said Elliott. “Countries like New Zealand that have reaped the benefits of industrialisation can and should help poor people cope. We cannot afford to exchange a short-term saving for a long-term disaster.”


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