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The EU is Treating Climate Deal Like an E-Bay Novice

BRUSSELS - The European Union’s suggestion today of global public
financing worth €22-€50 billion per year for developing countries to
tackle climate change falls short of what is needed, says international
agency Oxfam.

Europe’s bid is not enough and comes with a fatal flaw – there is no
guarantee that this money would be “new” and not diverted from existing
aid commitments. “This is not yet a break-through for a climate deal.
But the EU has shown that real numbers can now be negotiated,” said
Elise Ford, head of Oxfam International’s Brussels office.

“Right now, the EU is treating a climate change deal like a novice
on E-Bay. It has made an opening bid for climate justice that is
nowhere near enough and with a fatal flaw. It’s no sale, Europe, and
you only have a short time left to bid again before the auction closes
on a safe and fair deal in Copenhagen,” said Ford.

Oxfam says that the top-end of the range, €50 billion per year, is
less than half of what developing countries need to adapt to harmful
climate change and pursue low-carbon futures. EU heads of state did not
give a concrete range for Europe’s fair share of that total, but said
it would be based on their fair share of global responsibility for
emissions and capability to pay. The European Commission earlier
indicated that such criteria would lead to an EU contribution of
between €2 and €15 billion per year. Oxfam is calling instead for
Europe to provide at least €35 billion in public finance – alongside a
comparable contribution from the US – towards a global climate fund of
at least €110 billion per year.

Millions could suffer if aid is diverted

Financing must be new and additional. Oxfam estimates that at least
75 million fewer children are likely to attend school and 8.6 million
fewer people could have access to HIV/AIDS treatment if money that
would otherwise have been spent on health and education is diverted to
tackle climate change.

“Europe is committed to increase its overseas aid spending to 0.7%
of national income. Climate financing must be over and above that. If
not, rich countries are simply telling the world’s poorest countries to
choose between building flood defenses and building schools. If rich
countries steal from aid budgets to pay their climate debt, the fight
against poverty will go into reverse,” Ford said.

“Europe’s bargaining tactics are a carbon-copy of its past form in
international trade negotiations. Low opening offers will be followed
by intense pressure on developing countries to agree to Europe’s
demands. But these are not conventional negotiations, and such tactics
won’t deliver the deal we need in Copenhagen,” warned Ford. “The
collapsed Doha round of trade talks was about pulling millions out of
poverty, Copenhagen is about preventing billions from being plunged
into poverty.”

“We now need an improved offer – more money and new money. Placing the first bid doesn’t make you a leader,” Ford added.

Oxfam also said that today’s announcement from Brussels helped to
turn the international spotlight back onto the United States. “The US
now needs to join the EU in talking about concrete financing numbers –
and next week’s US-EU Summit is the perfect opportunity to begin,” Ford

Read more

Read the media brief on “What does climate change mean for developing countries?” (PDF)

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For more in-depth analysis on the link between climate change and poverty, read our report Suffering the Science.



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Oxfam International is a confederation of 13 like-minded organizations working together and with partners and allies around the world to bring about lasting change. Oxfam works directly with communities and that seeks to influence the powerful to ensure that poor people can improve their lives and livelihoods and have a say in decisions that affect them.

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