Australian government must commit to more climate change adaptation funding

Friends of the Earth Australia calls on the Australian government to commit $1.8 billion a year in funding adaptation to climate change in light of a new report released today by Oxfam International.

media release

May 29 th 2007

 

Rice. Image: FoEI

Australian government must commit to more climate change adaptation funding

Friends of the Earth Australia calls on the Australian government to commit $1.8 billion a year in funding adaptation to climate change in light of a new report released today by Oxfam International.

The report, 'Adapting to climate change: What's needed in poor countries, and who should pay', estimates that at least AUD $60 billion a year is needed internationally to enable developing countries to guard against climate change.

To date, rich countries have pledged only $182m to international funds for adaptation in developing countries. At the recent United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat meeting held in Bonn, Australia announced that it will contribute up to $7.5 million for climate change adaptation to the Least Developed Country Fund under the UNFCCC. This commitment is the first made by Australia to the UNFCCC adaptation funds.

“While a step in the right direction, this figure falls far short of the $1,800 million a year that the Oxfam report found Australia needs to be contributing to adaptation funding” said Friends of the Earth Climate Justice spokesperson, Cam Walker. “At first glance, this does seem like an enormous figure. However, to put it into context, we should consider that the current federal budget (released May 2007) includes personal tax relief worth $31.5 billion over four years and that a budget surplus of $10.6 billion is forecast in 2007-08. Australia can afford to contribute these funds, it is simply the case that we have not yet decided to allocate them.”

“Australia has an obligation to provide this funding due to our disproportionate historical greenhouse emissions. Developing countries, and in particular Least Developed Countries, are far less responsible for human induced climate change than industrialised nations” said Mr Walker.

“Australia’s historical emissions have also enabled us to develop public infrastructure and strong economies and therefore we will be in a better position to deal with the impacts of climate change than poorer nations. Most Developing countries will be far less able to deal with these effects because they often have large external debts, limited infrastructure to cope, and little if any insurance for individuals” said Mr Walker.

“In response to this report, the Australian government’s overseas aid agency, AusAID, will need to further develop its new Environmental Strategy with new adaptation initiatives and funding allocations.”

Globally, the funding that has been pledged to date is almost all being counted towards long-standing commitments to provide 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) as aid. However, finance for adaptation should be provided over and above our ODA, which in Australia only stands at 0.3% of GNI.

“Australia also has an obligation to minimise the impacts of climate change by making deep and urgent cuts to its emissions, setting a target of 40% of 1990 levels by 2020” said Mr Walker.

 

More information:

Cam Walker (Melbourne) 0419 338 047

Emma Brindal (Brisbane) 0411 084 727

 

Notes to editors:

The amount each country needs to pay was arrived at by ranking countries on their responsibility for carbon emissions from 1992, the year nearly all of the world's nations committed to tackle climate change, up to 2003 as well as their capability to pay based on their ranking in the UN's Human Development Index.

The Oxfam report and press release can be found at: http://www.oxfam.org.au/media/article.php?id=351

Details on the Australian announcement on UNFCCC adaptation funds can be found at: http://www.archive.foe.org.au/campaigns/climate-justice/media/news-items/front-page-news-feed-1/australia2019s-climate-change-adaptation-funding-for-developing-countries-welcomed/