Friday, March 12, 2010

Climate change challenges dwarf funding promises - economist

Megan Rowling in Reuters AlertNet: The annual $100 billion rich countries have agreed to mobilise by 2020 to help developing nations address climate change is "a very modest sum", according to a top academic who is a member of a high-level panel that will work out how to raise the money.

The pledge "is a small sum in relation to the type of challenges we are talking about," Nicholas Stern, a professor at the London School of Economics, told a conference of development experts in London this week. Stern cited an estimate from a recent paper that dealing with climate change could increase the cost of meeting the Millennium Development Goals in Africa by around 40 percent, equivalent to $28 billion a year for the next decade.

If that were scaled up to include the support developing countries need to limit growth in their carbon emissions and introduce renewable energy and green technologies, "you get into the few hundreds of billions (of dollars)", Stern said.

Nonetheless, the former World Bank chief economist - who worked with Ethiopian President Meles Zenawi to secure the financing commitment in a climate accord struck in Copenhagen in December - admitted to being "amazed" that developed nations were persuaded to sign up to the $100 billion figure.

…In an interview with AlertNet at the conference, Helen Clark, the head of the United Nations Development Programme, gave the example of helping a community restore its water catchment area. This could involve boosting water supplies in an area becoming drier because of climate change (adaptation); replanting forests that have been cut down (mitigation); and in the process boosting incomes and reducing the time people spend finding water (development).

"It's disastrous if climate adaptation, mitigation (and) environment issues are dealt with as though they are something separate from a national development plan," said Clark. "They have to be integrated into that plan and then you'll get the spill-over effects for development."….

Jim and the treasure, by C. Northcote Wyeth, from a 1911 edition of Treasure Island

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