Service on Climate Change (Dec08/01)
see below the newspaper column Global Trends in The Star daily of
The Star Online > Global Trends
Spend the trillions on climate
The two crises of our times — economic recession and global warming — should be tackled together. The trillions of dollars earmarked for economic recovery can be spent to fight climate change.
THE economic crisis should not stop governments from serious action to combat climate change, but should instead be an opportunity to fund climate-related activities.
was a clear message that came out of the last days of the United Nations
climate talks at
The two major crises of our times – the economic recession and global warming – were addressed by the UN secretary-general and some world leaders at the opening ceremony of the ministerial segment of the two-week talks.
If the US and Europe can come up with so many trillions of dollars to save their financial institutions within a few months, surely there is money to tackle the climate crisis, which is a far bigger problem involving the world’s survival.
point was made most emphatically by
Europe sends a signal that it can make commitments on climate only in
prosperous times, what are developing countries, including
“We hear the banks and financial institutions need to be bailed out as they are too big to fail. Climate change is an even bigger problem, in which we cannot fail.”
UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon said the world faced two crises, the financial and climate crises. He proposed that a big part of the fiscal stimulus that countries are planning to counter the recession with be spent on investing in a green future that fights climate change and creates jobs.
said that leadership is needed, and mentioned Europe, the
“The coming year is the year of climate change,” Ban said. “While the economic crisis is serious, the stakes in climate are higher, and climate change must be at the top of our national agendas. There can be no backsliding.”
He called on countries to break free from entrenched positions, from who is to blame and who will move first.
Tuvalu Prime Minister Apisai Ielemia, whose Pacific island state is facing extinction from rising sea levels, attacked the lack of progress in the fund under the Kyoto Protocol meant to help countries adapt to climate change.
“We need the funds now as climate change is already affecting us,” he said. “But some key developed countries are making the adaptation fund inaccessible to developing countries. This is totally unacceptable.”
The companies are asked to cap their emissions at specified levels and those exceeding these have to pay for permits under the original scheme.
Major groups such as Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and Oxfam immediately attacked the decision as a betrayal of what had previously been European leadership on climate action.
the European Union is to keep its target of reducing emissions by 20%
by 2020, the groups estimated the
There will thus be little domestic action to curb emissions.
high rhetoric in
proof of the pudding is, however, in the eating, and we will soon see
if this rhetoric is matched or contrasted with real action by the