Oxfam have just released a report called Climate Fiscal Cliff; evaluation of the fast start finance programme which is another indictment on this Government’s lack of commitment to human rights and climate justice.
One of the few hopeful things to come out of Copenhagen three years ago was a commitment from developed countries to commit $100billion per year by 2010 to help low income countries to reduce their emissions and adapt to climate change to prevent the worst impacts.
To allay the perception that this might be another empty pledge that they would not follow through on agreed to make a down payment of $30billion before 2012 to be called the Fast Start Finance.
This was an incredibly important step for many reasons – one it would actually help the low income countries avert some disasters through effective adaptation, two it would be a sign of good faith by high income countries that could break the gridlock in negotiations that centered around equity.
Sadly the Oxfam’s research shows only 33% of fast start finance appears to be new money, and only 24% of public finance was additional to existing aid promises, and only 21% went to adaptation.
New Zealand pledged $30 million each year from 2010-2012
We have met this target as part of the aid programme and part of the aid appropriation. The funds for climate change are being diverted from other development priorities. This was not the agreement in Copenhagen. The commitment wasn’t to take vital funds tagged for development in the Pacific into climate action. That is not a sign of good faith.
New Zealand’s aid programme is primarily spent in the Pacific, an area that clearly needs a lot of assistance with adaptation, considering sea level rise, increase in extreme weather events, and the loss of fresh water. It is very sad and very short sighted to see us avoiding our responsibilities.
New Zealand, and other political leaders, need to work with urgency to increase new climate finance in Doha.
This includes genuinely considering new income streams, such as a scheme to reduce shipping emissions or new taxes on financial transactions in order to generate revenue for the Green Climate Fund.