Climate change: (E)mission impossible?
The much anticipated Copenhagen climate summit stuttered into life yesterday, with the burden of expectation weighing heavily on its shoulders. Climate negotiators have convened at Copenhagen’s Bella Center for the first of two weeks of meetings.
While key players such as the US and China have in recent days hinted that a deal is possible, it remains to be seen whether this will be comprehensive and fair or merely a political smokescreen.
The negotiations are seemingly deadlocked over key issues such as finance and emissions targets, with the threat of another walkout by African countries, as witnessed in Barcelona, lingering over the talks.
Given that no major breakthroughs are expected until the beginning of next week when Ministers will start to arrive, this week’s European Council -at which Ministers are set to agree on the EU’s financial contribution- could prove crucial in brokering a climate deal.
In its September communication, the European Commission proposed to the Council that the EU should be ready to put between 2 and 15 billion euros on the table in Copenhagen, but this falls well short of what is required for an equitable agreement to be reached.
ActionAid is calling for rich countries to pay their climate debt and estimates that the EU alone should be providing more than €42 billion a year to developing countries by 2020. This figure is calculated on the basis of both ability to pay and responsibility for excessive emissions since 1992, when the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was established.
New and additional funding will allow developing countries to adapt to the effects of climate change and implement measures to reduce future emissions. Redirecting money from Overseas Development Aid budgets, as supported by France and Germany, and most of the smaller member states; will not address the problem.
The EU cannot simply plunder funds already committed to fighting poverty in poor countries to service its climate debt. The world’s poor should not be expected to pay for a problem that they did not cause.
This is not about aid. EU countries have a climate debt to pay and it’s time for them to pay it!