Time for climate negotiators in Doha to deliver for world’s poor

Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 14:46

On Tuesday, Typhoon Bopha struck the Philippines, killing hundreds. This comes only a year after the Philippines was devastated by Typhoon Washi, which killed a staggering 1,300 people.

With this as perspective, it’s deplorable that rich countries at the annual meeting UN climate change meeting (UNFCCC) in Doha are refusing to step forward with the money needed to help developing countries like the Philippines cope with the effects of climate change.

Today, ActionAid, alongside Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund, Oxfam, Friends of the Earth, and Christian Aid held a joint press conference with delegates from the Africa Group, Least Developed Countries Group, and the Philippines.

Together – in a somewhat unprecedented show of solidarity – we called on developed countries to meet their obligations under the UNFCCC and on all countries to not to sign an agreement in Doha that doesn’t reduce emissions, provide adequate climate finance and establish an international mechanism to address loss and damage from climate impacts.

Climate finance is a focus of my work for ActionAid. The negotiations going on right now in Doha come at an important moment because the current pledge for climate finance (called “Fast Start Finance”) ends at the end of 2012.

Developed countries have promised to mobilize $100 billion per year in climate finance, starting no later than 2020 – but it’s very unclear what happens between now and 2020.

This has become the biggest point of contention in the debate around finance at the Doha meeting.

Developed countries have been saying that climate finance is continuing and will not disappear after 2012, but they have offered few concrete numbers and no indication of how money will be scaled up to reach the $100 billion goal by 2020.

Specific numbers and dates would give developing countries the predictability that is desperately needed for national planning – not to mention a firm reassurance that developed countries are serious about meeting their pledges.

Several developing countries have said that this is a “make or break” issue that could cause the negotiations to collapse if these demands are not met. We stand in solidarity with these countries and many social movements of poor and marginalized people living in those countries.

Together, we are encouraging developing country governments to stick to their demands and deliver an outcome from these negotiations that will benefit their people and the planet.

The industrialized world is responsible for causing climate change, and developing countries are bearing the brunt of its effects so climate finance is a moral obligation, not a bargaining chip or an act or charity.

Developed countries must deliver concrete commitments for climate finance in Doha and clarity on how they will meet their obligations leading up to 2020.

That’s why we’re demanding justice for the millions of poor people around the world who are vulnerable to climate change but who have done nothing to cause it.