COP20 reflections: 'Poor nations to need $500 bn a year by 2050'

COP20 reflections: ‘Poor nations to need $500 bn a year by 2050’


Developing countries may need up to $500 billion per year by 2050 to adapt to the ravages of climate change, dwarfing previous estimates, a UN report said Friday.
The figure was about 20 times today’s public spending on climate adaptation, according to the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) that warned of a “significant funding gap after 2020.”
And the number could be further inflated if countries fail to meet the UN target of limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-Industrial Revolution levels.“The impacts of climate change are already beginning to be factored into the budgets of national and local authorities,” UNEP executive director Achim Steiner said in a statement.
“The escalating cost implications on communities, cities, business, taxpayers and national budgets merit closer attention as they translate into real economic consequences,” he added.
In 2012-13, the amount of global public finance committed to adaptation was about $23-26 billion, of which 90 percent went to developing countries.
Adaptation support is a key sticking point at UN negotiations under way inLima to hammer out the broad outlines of a new world pact to curb global warming.
Poor countries most vulnerable to climate-change-induced impacts —
extreme weather events, floods, droughts and sea-level rise — are demanding that a rich nation commitment to adaptation and finance help be written into the pact.
But many developed countries insist the deal, due to be signed in Paris in December 2015 to enter into force by 2020, should focus on mitigation — meaning efforts to curb planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions.
Steiner said the new report “underlines the importance of including comprehensive adaptation plans in the agreement.”
– ‘Significant underestimate’ –
The UN’s top climate science body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has projected adaptation costs in developing countries to reach $70-100 billion per year by 2050, based largely on World Bank figures from 2010.
But the new UNEP report said this was likely a “significant underestimate”, even if warming can be limited to two degrees Celsius this century — which many scientists say is unlikely.
Data gathered by research institutions, based on a wider and more detailed database, found that “at a minimum, the costs of adaptation are likely two to three times higher,” it said.
And on some calculations, based on national-level rather than global-level studies, “adaptation costs could climb as high as $150 billion by 2025/2030 and $250-500 billion per year by 2050” — and double that if the global average temperature rise is allowed to approach 4 C.
Senior climate change advisor Mohamed Adow of Christian Aid said some developing countries were already at their financial limit for climate
“It’s a cruel irony that it is the rich countries whose carbon emissions helped create these climate change impacts that don’t want adaption to be a central part of the Paris agreement,” he said.
Sandeep Chamling Rai, adaptation policy advisor to green group WWF, added that the report “opens up a window onto a nightmarish future, where the global economy is crippled and the most vulnerable countries are even further disadvantaged.
“This is not a gap, it’s an abyss. We can avoid falling into it, but we’re running out of time.”
Gathering 195 states and the European Union bloc, the 12-day Lima meeting has as one of its tasks to draft guidelines for nations when they make emissions-cutting pledges next year — commitments that are at the heart of the new pact.
The climate negotiations have been bedeviled for years by rifts between rich and poor nations over who should shoulder the burden of emissions cuts,which require a politically and financially difficult shift from cheap and plentiful fossil fuel to cleaner energy sources.
Finance remains a sore point, with developing nations insisting that rich economies must show in Lima how they intend to honor promises to muster up to $100 billion in climate finance per year from 2020.
To date, nearly $10 billion in startup capital had been promised for the Green Climate Fund, the main vehicle for channeling the money.
Norway on Friday said it will provide $258 million to the fund over the next four years. – AFP/BSS
Day 4: Atâyi Babs
As the climate negotiations enter a frenetic pace, one cannot help but notice the coordinated and orderly comportment of the African civil society groups at COP20. Coalescing under one umbrella known as the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), this group makes no pretence as to their objectives in Lima: climate justice for Africa!
With this background, a few colleagues and I decided to follow the activities of this group with a view to having an enhanced understanding of their activities, disposition and relevance to the climate negotiations. At a press conference organised by PACJA on Wednesday, the group was unequivocal in its demand for a better deal for Africa.
African CSOs at the press conference warned that climate talks in Lima could trigger an even greater climate crisis in Africa, if they were not careful to protect the rights of the most poor and vulnerable in the continent, and those most impacted by climate change. “Negotiations on a new climate deal are struggling due to trust issues – but we will not be hoodwinked by technical or procedural tricks,” Mithika Mwenda, General Secretary of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) said.
Another interesting aspect of the conference came when it was announced that Japan wished to count the funding of coal power plants as climate finance, and that the African proposal for a renewable energy partnership is yet to be approved by developing countries. The litmus test of Lima will be: does it see pre-2020 climate action increase? Thus far, the silence has been deafening.
“We were promised that emission cuts would be strengthened this year; they weren’t. Instead African countries are been saddled with the additional load of paying for climate debt which they least contributed to” – said Rev. Dr. Tolbert Jallah from FECCIWA, an umbrella body of faith-based organisation based in Lome, Togo and PACJA member.
“We cannot have a situation where because of the pressure from developed countries, agreement on Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) is hurriedly entered into by developing countries without a clearly defined outcome on the elements. It would open the door to compromising African strong demand for adaptation. ” – said John Bideri, Rwanda Climate Change Network, based in Kigali and a PACJA member.
At the end of the press conference, my colleagues and I left the convention centre better-informed and challenged to expect the best from the on-going talks, especially as they concern Africa.
Daniele Savietto and Sara Cattani, Youth Press Agency
“Our lives are not for sale”. These were some of the words in the song that opened the “Intergenerational Inquiry – Youth as Agents of Change” on the fourth day of COP20. Thursday was the Young and Future Generations Day. Having a voice in the 2015 agreement is an important achievement for young people.
The day began with an opening session in the presence of Emmanuel Dumisani Dlamini, Chair of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), Amena Yauvoli, Chair of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and representatives of the G77+China. It was followed by several events, including a Flash Mob, where Pachamama (Mother Earth) died and rose again, thanks to the union of youth. In the afternoon, at the Intergenerational Inquiry event, a lot of young people took part in a debate about the problems caused by climate change. Israel Maldonado, the General Coordinator of the Conference on Youth (COY10),which took place last week, emphasised the hard work that was undertaken during the three days at the COY10 to achieve the first Youth Declaration. The main statements of this Declaration are: solidarity between people, inclusiveness and intergeneration action.
The interaction between young people, decision-makers and indigenous youth – which rarely occurs and was one of the main purposes of this panel – was constrained by the fact that the speakers didn’t really manage to keep track of their time as it was scheduled. Being perhaps one of the few opportunities of intergenerational interaction, it was a shame that this event was not as successful as expected. Youth participation was minimal compared to youth needs, due to the fact that UNFCCC accreditation for young people is a rare exception.
In summary, it is necessary to build bridges between generations and to build an agreement in 2015 where everyone is heard. Moreover, the real purpose of the final agreement ought to be life and land defence, rather than the protection of political and economic interests. We, as youth, have the energy and hope to change paradigms and lifestyles, and we are aware that this planet was loaned us, so we have to leave it exactly as we found it.
(Atâyi Babs is from the Climate and Sustainable Development Network of Nigeria) – Outreach newsletter, Stakeholders’ Forum


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