Global Trends by Martin Khor
Monday 15 December 2008
Spend the bailout trillions on climate action
The two crises of our times – economic recession and global warming – should be tackled together, said world leaders last week. The trillions of dollars earmarked for economic recovery can be spent to fight climate change.
The economic crisis should not stop governments from serous actions to combat climate change, but should instead be an opportunity to fund climate-related activities.
This was a clear
message that came out of the last days of the United Nations’ climate
The two major crises of our times – the economic recession and global warming – were addressed by the UN’s Secretary-General and some world leaders at the opening ceremony of the Ministerial segment of the two-week talks.
This point was most
emphatically made by
“If 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.
The UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-Moon said the world faces 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 should be spent on investing in a green future, that fights climate change and creates jobs.
He said that leadership
is needed, and mentioned Europe, the
Ban said the coming year is the year of climate change. 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 said, calling on countries to break free from entrenched positions, from who is to blame and who will move first.
The companies are
asked to cap their emissions at specified levels and those exceeding
these have to pay for permits under the original scheme. The
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.
Although the European
Union is to keep its target of reducing emissions by 20% by 2020 (compared
top the 1990 level), the groups estimated the
The high rhetoric
The 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