A new report by international agency Oxfam says at least US$50 billion is needed each year to help developing countries adapt to the harmful effects of climate change. The report calls on the Group of Eight, whose leaders meet in Germany June 6-8, to pledge to cover most of the cost.
"Human-induced climate change is already hurting the world’s poorest people, who are the least responsible for emissions and least able to adapt," said Robert Fox, executive director of Oxfam Canada. "Polluting countries must provide compensatory financing to those most vulnerable to the effects of that pollution."
Celine Charveriat, head of Oxfam’s Make Trade Fair campaign, said: "G8 countries face two obligations as they prepare for this year’s summit in Germany: to stop harming by cutting their emissions to keep global warming below 2° Celsius, and to start helping poor countries cope by paying their share of adaptation costs."
The Oxfam report ‘Adapting to Climate Change ranks how much countries owe based on their responsibility for carbon emissions and their capability to pay. The results show the United States should meet nearly 44 per cent of developing country adaptation costs. Canada is responsible for between four and five per cent.
Oxfam says the US$50 billion figure is a conservative estimate that will rise sharply if emissions are not cut drastically in order to keep global warming below 2° Celsius.
The effects of climate change on poor people that has been observed by Oxfam field and partner staff mirror the consensus of the world’s leading scientists. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says Africa will be hardest hit. Food production is predicted to drop, and as many as 250 million people could experience water shortages by 2020. Increased flooding is forecast in Asia, especially in the delta regions that are home to one billion people.
"Rich countries are investing heavily at home to adapt to climate change, but are stalling when it comes to helping poorer countries do the same," Charveriat said.
Donors meet in Washington in late June to pledge money into two special adaptation funds, as happens every two years. So far they have delivered just US$48m for all 49 of the world’s Least Developed Countries (LDCs). The LDCs need between one and two billion simply for their most immediate and urgent adaptation projects.