For Immediate Release
Finance Ball Shifts to US Court as Climate Talks Kick off in Barcelona
Progress on adaptation finance is possible
WASHINGTON - Oxfam called on the US to
join Europe in laying its climate finance cards on the table as
international climate talks opened in Barcelona today.
Real progress on climate finance is possible for the first time
after European leaders, meeting in Brussels on Friday, outlined their
proposal for how much public money should be made available to help
poor countries tackle climate change. The lack of concrete figures on
finance - a make or break issue in the talks - has stalled negotiations
on climate finance for years.
All eyes will be watching this week to see whether the US will join
the EU and put concrete figures on the table. The EU - US Summit in
Washington on Tuesday 3 November is the perfect opportunity for the US
and Europe to move forward together on climate finance. President Obama
will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Swedish Prime Minister
Fredrik Reinfeldt, European Commission President Jose Barroso, and EU
foreign policy chief Javier Solana at the White House.
At a high level meeting in Brussels last week, European leaders said
that €22-€50 billion per year was needed in public finance to help poor
countries tackle climate change. The European Commission estimates the
EU's fair share would be up to €15 billion per year (approximately
$3-22 billion). This offer falls far short of what is required - at
best it is less than half the amount that is needed - and there are no
assurances that existing promises overseas aid will not simply be
rebranded as climate finance.
Rich countries must commit new money
Oxfam is calling for rich countries, which created the climate
crisis, to accept their responsibilities, and provide at least €110
billion ($150 billion) per year to help poor countries reduce their
emissions and adapt to a changing climate. The money must be additional
to the 0.7 per cent of national income already committed to overseas
aid. Oxfam calculates that Europe and America's fair share of this
global total is around €35 billion each per year ($50 billion) based on
their historical responsibility for creating the climate crisis and
financial capacity to tackle it.
The legal status of a final agreement in Copenhagen is also likely
to be the subject of intensive debate in Barcelona. The US, Australia
and Canada has put forward a proposal which could move away from
binding emission reduction targets for developed countries from 2013,
when current Kyoto Protocol commitments expire. This would
significantly weaken the rules governing rich country action and was
roundly condemned by poor countries at the last round of UN talks in
Barcelona: a fork in the road to Copenhagen
Barcelona is the last official round of negotiations before a deal
is done in Copenhagen at the end of the year. Millions of poor people
are already struggling to cope with the effects of climate change and
cannot afford delay. In Bolivia glacial retreat threatens the water
supply of thousands of poor Andean farmers as well as water and
electricity supplies to cities such as La Paz.
Antonio Hill, Senior Climate Advisor for Oxfam International, said:
"For the first time there is an opportunity for real progress on
finance in the climate talks. Rich countries must act now and provide
at least $150 billion in new money to help poor nations tackle the
climate crisis they created. The fate of the climate deal and millions
of poor people around the world depends on it."
Up to the US now
"The finance ball is in the US's court. It must say how much money
it is going to commit to help poor countries tackle climate change. The
EU - US Summit is a perfect opportunity for America to move forward
with the EU on climate finance. If there is political will in
Washington there could be real progress in Barcelona."
"Europe may have got the ball rolling on finance but its opening bid
falls far short of what is needed. It needs to put more money on the
table and ensure this money is additional to existing aid commitments
to seal the deal in December. Poor countries must not be forced choose
between building flood defences and building schools."
Read the Oxfam discussion document: Climate Change Adaptation: Enabling people living in poverty to adapt (pdf)
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For more in-depth analysis, download Beyond Aid: Ensuring adaptation to climate change works for the poor
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.