Found: $50 billion for adaptation needs

By Oxfam

POZNAN, POLAND ? Negotiators at the UN climate change talks must urgently endorse innovative market-based mechanisms to find enough money for developing countries to adapt to the current and worsening effects of climate change, said international agency Oxfam today.

In a new report released today, ?Turning Carbon into Gold,? Oxfam said there are ways already available to raise tens of billions of dollars that are linked to emissions reduction schemes. These would ensure that those countries most responsible for emissions, and that can afford to pay, would shoulder the bulk of the obligations. At least $50 billion per year is needed to fund adaptation in developing countries, with more necessary if a new climate change deal is inadequate to keep global warming to below 2ï¾°C.

?With a global financial crisis unfolding, these mechanisms could raise enough money from polluters without governments having to dip into national treasuries,? said Heather Coleman, Oxfam?s Senior Climate Change Policy Advisor and author of the report. "Many negotiators agree this is one of the more practical approaches. Billions of dollars can be raised and invested to prevent future climate change and to help poor people adapt to the negative impacts of global warming.?

The most effective and fair approach for generating adaptation financing is to link into the emissions-reduction system that would form a core part of a post-2012 agreement, where ?international emissions units? are allocated to rich countries. Oxfam says that a portion of these units must be auctioned rather than given away free to countries.

Oxfam estimates that more than $50 billion could be raised each year by 2015 by auctioning just 7.5 per cent of rich countries? international emissions units. This money should be handed to a new multilateral adaptation-finance mechanism under the UNFCCC. Other new finance mechanisms within the aviation and shipping sectors could generate another $28 billion—$12 billion from aviation and $16.6 billion from shipping annually—just from rich countries.

?Helping vulnerable people cope with the effects of climate change is desperately needed today because they are already face increasingly severe and ever-worsening climate change impacts,? said Coleman.

Poor countries need help to build up their resilience by, for example, upgrading national flood early-warning systems, planting mangrove ?bio-shields? along coasts to diffuse storm waves and growing drought-tolerant crops. If countries fail to adapt to the new reality of climate change, they will suffer far greater damage from floods, droughts and hurricanes, and at much higher cost, both in human and financial terms.

?It is extremely important for negotiators in Poznan to reach a broad understanding about how best to raise adaptation money because they have paid lip-service to the issue for too long. It is a vital part of the overall deal—a litmus test of how serious rich countries are in tackling the problem,? Coleman said.

?Poor people around the world bear the brunt of climate change and yet they are least responsible for global warming,? said Coleman. ?Even during tempestuous financial times, rich countries can and should help poor people cope. We cannot afford to exchange a short-term saving for a long-term disaster.?

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