Thursday, October 23, 2014

Helping Developing Nations is Key to a Global Climate Agreement

Poor nations will suffer the impacts of climate change more than wealthier nations even though they have contributed the least to climate change. If we are to succeed in securing a global climate agreement in 2015, we will have to come to terms with the need to help the least developed nations.

Nepal's Prakash Mathema, is the leading the UN climate change negotiator for the 48 nations that comprise the Least Developed Countries Group (LDC).  These nations are dependent on assistance in the form of what is known as the Green Climate Fund.

As explained by Mathema, "If the global response to climate change does not give adequate attention to the circumstances and needs of the most vulnerable, then it cannot be equitable."

Mathema explained that securing a global climate agreement in 2015 is crucial for the LDC because, "our countries have the most to lose if we fail to engage in the process as much as possible." He went on to say, "success in addressing climate change at global level will not be achieved unless the key concerns of those that are extremely vulnerability to climate change impacts are appropriately taken into consideration."

LDC nations are not just looking for handouts, they are doing their part to reduce their footprints. Summarizing the LDC's plans revealed at last month's UN Climate Summit in New York Mathema said, "more than 20 LDCs spoke of their plans to undertake ambitious action involving low carbon climate resilient development and the sequestration of carbon through enhancement of forest cover. To give two specific examples, the prime minister of Ethiopia pledged to achieve a green climate resilient economy with zero net emissions by 2025; and the prime minister of Tuvalu announced his commitment to employ 100% renewable energy in electricity supply by 2020. These ambitious pledges sent a powerful message about what is possible. Even with the limited economic capacity and extreme vulnerability of our nations, the LDCs are leading the way to a low carbon future. We expect others to scale up ambition and leadership on climate change in more strongly than the LDCs."

In 2009 at COP 15 in Copenhagen, those assembled agreed that 100 billion a year would be required by 2020 to finance the Green Climate Fund. However, as explained by Mathema, we are far short of those pledges.

"Thus far, pledges to the [Green Climate] Fund have amounted to only $2.3 billion only. This total falls far short of the Fund’s goal of raising $10–15 billion (€7.8 billion to €11.7 billion) by next month.... we are still very far from attaining the $100 billion (€78 billion) per year by 2020 mark"

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