Rich countries can afford to raise the funding they have promised, say leading NGOs

By Tierney Smith
RTCC in Durban

The Green Climate Fund faced set-backs on Wednesday (Source: UNFCCC)

Rich countries can afford the Green Climate Fund and will save money in the long run by investing now; say leading NGOs following set-back to the talks at COP17.

Responding to the news that the U.S – who opposed the Green Climate Fund at the October meeting of the fund committee – again objected to the $100 billion a year fund, the groups urged for progress at COP17 saying discussion on the GCF itself should move forward at the same time as dicussions on how to build the fund.

Ilana Soloman from ActionAid US said: “We know that financially times are tough, budgets are tight but the truth is that rich countries can afford to raise the kinds of cash they have promised. In fact, even according to the World Bank it is actually seven times cheaper to invest now rather than to mobilise emergency relief and picking up costs later.”

Kelly Dent from Oxfam International shared her sentiments, warning that the “cost of inaction is greater than the cost of action”.

She said the NGO’s were here to talk about the bigger picture.

“When we are talking about the bigger picture we are talking about people. We are also talking about the need for money. We need money to help poor countries embark on low carbon pathways to develop and also to assist with adaptation.”

She warned that if temperatures were kept below two degrees, the world was looking at $200 billion a year to adapt to its effects, while on current pathways – which estimate temperatures to be much higher – would cost much more.

Both warned that there would be nothing worse than a Green Climate Fund which became an “empty vault” a good design but with no funds to talk of.

The U.S were not the only country to voice concerns over the draft design yesterday. While they objected to talks continuing about the use of a single source fund –for example a Robin Hood Tax, which has been talked about in recent weeks.

Meanwhile countries including Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Egypt and Nigeria voiced concerns that the Fund could become dominated by the private sector and lose some of its benefits.

Meanwhile developing countries, such as the Alliance of Small Island States agreed to the design – despite their own concerns of the makeup of the deal – a sign that they wanted quick progression towards a working fund.

Raymond Lumbuenamo from WWF Central Africa – where the effects of climate change are predicted to be felt the worst – offered a stark warning to the delegates saying: “I could go on and on listing things that have changed in Africa – Madagascar has strong winds. Winds that are not abating for a number of months. These are really things we are experiencing. Maybe in your neighbourhood you do not have this problem, but we have these problems already, so we are the victims of climate change we did not cause.”


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