The Price of Success in Copenhagen: US$200 Bln
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The amount of US$200 billion could mean the world of difference between success and failure in Copenhagen, said Oxfam Hong Kong as the UN climate summit in the city Tuesday. The Summit marks the culmination of two years of international negotiations on a deal to prevent catastrophic climate change.
Oxfam activist stages underwater protest at climate talks.
Rich countries could set off a chain reaction that leads to success in Copenhagen if they put forward at least US$200 billion per year in new public funds to help poor countries reduce their emissions and adapt to a changing climate.
Big developing countries such as China have signalled that they are willing to increase and formalize--already significant pledges to reduce emissions if rich countries provide the necessary support. This, in turn, could help rich country leaders overcome domestic barriers to more ambitious targets. And it could secure the support of the world's poorest countries that need help to adapt to a rapidly changing climate.
President Obama has already set the wheels in motion by agreeing to join other world leaders on 18 December and by announcing that the US is ready to pay its fair share towards the 'fast start' fund. Rich countries have said they are willing to put forward US$10 billion a year between 2010 and 2013 to help vulnerable countries tackle climate change.
The European Union must now build on the US move by putting forward its share of the US$200 billion a year needed in the long term--and pushing for the US to do the same. In October the EU said that a global fund worth up to Euro 50 billion (US$74 billion) per year is needed to help poor countries tackle climate change but stopped short of saying how much it will contribute.
Oxfam also warned that climate finance must be new. Many rich countries still plan to use money from existing aid commitments to meet their climate obligations.
Stanley So, Oxfam Hong Kong Campaign coordinator, commented in Copenhagen:
"The price of success in Copenhagen is US$200 billion. US$200 billion could trigger off a chain reaction that delivers more ambitious emissions reductions and helps the world's poorest people adapt to a changing climate. We need to see this figure sparkling overhead in Christmas lights by the end of the Summit. Its peanuts compared to the US$8.4 trillion we found to save drowning banks."
"Rich countries are mistaken if they think that less than a half of the emissions cuts demanded by the science and US$10 billion in re-packaged aid promises can be spun as a success in two weeks time. It underestimates the real needs of billions of poor people and overestimates the patience of poor countries who have clearly signalled their preference for no deal over green wash."
Xiao Xin, a youth ambassador on climate change who will be attending the COP 15 meeting commented, "I have visited Gansu province in Mainland China twice. On both visits, I have witnessed how climate change has brought suffering to the poor people there, especially over the past two decades. The impact of climate change has led to drought and crop failure, which affects the livelihood and income of farmers. Also, natural disasters have become more intense, thus displacing the villagers. I intend to share my experiences with participants of the COP 15."
(China.org.cn December 8, 2009)