|TWN Poznan News Update No.15: Money for finance bailouts can be use for climate, Ministers told|
|Written by Martin Khor, Third World Network|
|Thursday, 11 December 2008 00:00|
All the leaders stressed the urgency of tackling the climate crisis. Many stressed that the global economic crisis should not divert from climate action.|
This point was most emphatically made by Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo, President of Guyana, who warned that there was an emerging mood that countries cannot act on climate when there is an economic crisis.
“If Europe sends a signal that it can make commitments on climate only in prosperous times, what are developing countries including India and China going to say?” he asked. “Some balk at the financial resources required, but if there is political will this money can be found, like the $7 trillion raised for tackling the financial crisis.
“We hear the banks and financial institutions need to be bailed out as they are too big to fail. Climate change is an even bigger problem, in which we cannot fail.
Jagdeo said that low carbon growth has to be incentives, and so too has low-deforestation economies, with the incentives provided so that they can out-compete other forces that lead to deforestation.
In the negotiations on reduction of emissions relating to deforestation (known as REDD), there should not be an exclusion of any significant group of countries, and the solution must address deforestation, afforestation and avoided deforestation, he said.
The UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, in his opening address, said the world faces two crises, the financial and climate crises. He proposed that a big part of the fiscal stimulus that countries are planning to counter the recession should be spent on investing in a green future, that fights climate change and creates jobs.
He said that leadership is needed, and mentioned Europe, the US (where the incoming administration is putting energy and climate at the centre of US policy), China (where one fourth of its fiscal stimulus package is to scale up energy conservation and environmental protection), Denmark, Brazil (a leader in green growth) and China (with its climate plan and its development of solar and wind energy).
Ban said the coming year is the year of climate change. While the economic crisis is serious, the stakes in climate are higher, and climate change must be at the top of our national agendas. “There can be no backsliding,” he said, calling on countries to break free from entrenched positions, from who is to blame and who will move first.”
Mr. Lech Kaczynski, President of Poland, said that the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012 and will have to be replaced by an agreement by countries that emit the majority of Greenhouse Gases.
[Several diplomats and observers pointed out that in fact the Kyoto Protocol is not expiring; it is only the first commitment period (in which Annex I or developed countries committed to a first round of emission reductions) that expires in 2012 and that negotiations are underway for commitments in a second period scheduled to start in 2013. Also, it is not major emitters but all UNFCCC members that are discussing the Bali Action Plan].
Kaczynski said that the Kyoto Protocol is a success but had met with hurdles. He said that Poland is implementing its commitments, pointing to a 37% drop in its emissions from 1990 to 2007. The world is full of conflicting interests but we have to succeed (in reaching an agreement) if our generation is to survive, he added.
Tuvalu’s Prime Minister, Mr. Apisai Ielemia expressed his worry about how the adaptation fund (under the Kyoto Protocol) is moving. “We need the funds now as climate change is already affecting us,” he said. “But some key developed countries are making the adaptation fund inaccessible to developing countries…This is totally unacceptable.”
He added that vulnerable countries must be able to access the fund. We don’t want the adaptation fund to be like the global environment facility where only countries that can write lengthy project proposals and get through the red tape (of bureaucracy) can access the GEF funds, he said.
He also said that a new agreement on adaptation is needed in Copenhagen. We seek a new regime on risk insurance so that those who are affected can recover, he added.
Swedish Prime Minister Mr. Fredrik Reinfeldt advocated the cap and trade scheme and an international carbon market, an agreement to limit temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius, a fair agreement, and contribution by advanced developing countries with respective capacities. He announced that Sweden would be contributing $500 million to adaptation activities of developing countries.
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