Sunday, August 10, 2008

What we are doing about climate change?

Daily News (Sri Lanka): In developing countries, where survival is often a daily struggle, people cannot afford to wait for their government to bail them out. Many are living in the grip of climate change, coping with frequent droughts, heavy flooding, intense cyclones and other extreme weather events, and have found ways to adapt:

* In Bangladesh, women farmers faced with frequent floods are building ‘floating gardens’ - hyacinth rafts on which to grow vegetables in flood-prone areas.

* In Sri Lanka, farmers are experimenting with rice varieties that can cope with less water and higher levels of salinity in the water.

* In Malawi, some small-scale farmers dependent on rain-fed agriculture have begun planting faster maturing maize to cope with more frequent droughts.

...Developing countries require international assistance to support adaptation, including funding, technology transfer and insurance, as well as resources to reduce the risk of disasters and raise the resilience of communities to increasingly extreme events. The Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF), controlled by the GEF, is one of two funds set up by UNFCCC to help these countries adapt to global warming.

The Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) finances projects related to capacity building, technology transfer and mitigation, and helps countries highly dependent on income from fossil fuels to diversify, but the UN Development Programme’s annual development report in 2007 noted that little of this money had actually been delivered to the developing countries.

The UNFCCC has pinned its hopes on an Adaptation Fund, set up under the Kyoto Protocol, to support adaptation to climate change in developing nations. It is financed by a 2 percent levy on the value of credits resulting from emission reduction projects under the CDM. The UNFCCC estimates that the fund will raise up to $300 million a year by 2030, depending on the level of demand in the carbon market.

However, development agency Oxfam has pointed out that Ethiopia’s immediate climate adaptation needs alone will amount to US$800 million.

Sri Lanka map from the CIA World Factbook, Wikimedia Commons

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