G20 'a damp squib' say aid agencies

By staff writers
28 Sep 2009

G20 leaders have missed a crucial opportunity to combat climate change, Christian relief and development agencies have said.

Tearfund, which works with the world’s poorest communities to help people adapt to the effects of climate change, said that hopes were dashed at this week’s meeting of G20 leaders in Pittsburgh.

“Despite President Obama’s build up to this event back in the summer at G8, the G20 summit has been a complete damp squib on the critical issue of climate finance for developing countries,” said Paul Cook, Tearfund’s Advocacy Director.

“However difficult the global financial situation, rich countries must break the deadlock in the international climate talks by making an offer of new and additional public finance for poor countries. At least $150 billion a year in new public money is needed to help developing countries adapt to the impacts of climate change and reduce their emissions.”

“This is urgent,” said Paul Cook. “Time is running out, and we’re already seeing the dramatic impacts of climate change in many parts of the world.

“Rich countries have the power to change this and must take responsibility for doing so. They must redouble their efforts if we’re to have any hope of getting a strong and fair climate deal in Copenhagen this December.”

Liz Gallagher, CAFOD’s head of climate finance policy, said: “Leaders came here to decide, but all we’ve seen is delay. Whilst phasing out fossil fuel subsidies is a goodwill gesture it will not compensate the poorest who are suffering now as a result of climate change.

“The green new shoots that sprouted in New York are now facing a drought of political will.

“Millions will be affected if the rich nations of the G20 don’t unite on climate finance. What we need is a global Marshall Plan for the 21st century, and all we’ve got is a meeting with the accountant.”

Keywords: climate change | g20
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