TWN Info Service on Climate Change (Sept10/01)
The worsening plight of
Below is an article by Martin Khor, Executive Director of South Centre, a think tank of developing countries.
Urgent need for funds to fight climate
Geneva, 1 Sep (Martin Khor) - The flood calamity in Pakistan has again highlighted the urgent need to set up a proper global system to help developing countries affected by climate change and natural disasters.
As the scale of the flooding increased, the estimates
of costs of the damage and reconstruction also mounted. The Pakistani
High Commissioner in
The New York Times reported: “Even as Pakistani and international relief officials scrambled to save people and property, they despaired that the nation’s worst natural calamity had ruined just about every physical strand that knit this country together — roads, bridges, schools, health clinics, electricity and communications.
“The destruction could set
According to the New York Times article, more than 20 million people are now affected. The government estimates that the floods have washed away 5,000 miles of roads and railways, 7,000 schools and over 400 health facilities.
Just to build about 500 miles of road in war-ravaged
The article cites a study from two
The developed countries have committed to pay for the cost incurred by developing countries to mitigate and adapt to climate change, under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that was signed in 1992.
However, this commitment has remained mainly on paper. The current climate negotiations are supposed to convert the paper commitment to reality.
This week, some Ministers have been invited to
The most basic issue, highlighted so dramatically
At present, there is no predictable or reliable system. The affected countries simply have to rely on charity and donations. The funds promised are usually far too little, and even less of that is eventually paid.
Thus the climate talks have to produce a proper
institutional financing system, and at the top of the agenda is the
setting up of a new Climate Fund. Developing countries want it
to be under the authority of the UNFCCC, and not come under the control
of the World Bank that they have bad experiences with.
For mitigation (measures to prevent climate change), the World Bank's World Development Report 2010 has estimated that: “In developing countries mitigation could cost US$140 to US$175 billion a year over the next 20 years (with associated financing needs of US$265 to US$565 billion).”
A study in
For adaptation (measures to cope with the effects of climate change), there are various estimates of financing needs. Most studies are limited in scope (because they leave out several sectors and activities) and thus in their cost estimates.
A World Bank report estimates developing countries need up to US$100 billion a year for adaptation. This is higher than the estimate in the UN climate convention secretariat report that estimates the cost at US$27-66 billion a year.
The most comprehensive study is by scientists led by Martin Parry, former Co-Chair of the adaptation working group of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The study found that the UNFCCC report had underestimated adaptation costs in sectors it studied and also it left out many sectors.
If under-estimation is corrected in sectors studied, the real cost would be $68-165 billion a year. And if we also include some areas left out in the UNFCCC report (such as damage to ecosystems and damage from weather events), the total adaptation financing needed by developing countries could total $630 billion a year.
Financing is also needed for climate technology. The UNFCCC's technology expert group reported that the finance needs for technology are US$300-1,000 billion a year.
Of this total, developing countries are estimated to have additional funding needs of US$182 – 505 billion a year, for deployment and diffusion of technology. This seems to be an under-estimate as the report controversially assumes the developing countries do not need research and development or technology demonstration, activities confined only for developed countries.
Thus, the amount needed annually by developing
countries to combat climate change (US$600 billion for mitigation, another
US$600 billion for adaptation, and US$500 billion for technology) is
high indeed, and this does not yet take into account the payment for
climate debt (over-using of the atmospheric space by developed countries
in the past and present).
The financing system and the amounts of financing have now to be discussed seriously so that developing countries can have a chance of surviving, let alone developing, in future. +