European climate change proposals do not add up, says Christian Aid

By agency reporter
January 28, 2009

New European proposals for a global deal on climate change do not add up to a just or effective plan, the UK-based international development agency Christian Aid is warning.

The proposals, which are released today, will neither protect billions of poor people’s right to development nor prevent catastrophic global warming.

Today is the first time that the European Commission has published suggestions about the climate deal that must be adopted in Copenhagen this December.

Christian Aid said the step towards a negotiating position is welcome, as are some of its more innovative ideas about paying for climate change adaptation and mitigation.

However, Dr Alison Doig, Senior Climate Change Adviser at Christian Aid, says: "These proposals will not ensure that developing countries can prioritise poverty eradication and survival.

"The suggestions about which countries should pay for tackling and adapting to climate change, and how much they should contribute, are too crude to protect poor people."

The European Union (EU) proposes that with the exception of Least Developed Countries and Small Island States poor countries should start to contribute financially to solving the problem of climate change.

Christian Aid said the proposals go against the 'polluter pays' principle which the EU set itself, because developing countries have low historic responsibility for climate change, and also ignores the high levels of abject poverty within emerging markets such as China, India and Brazil.

Furthermore, the proposals "fall a long way short of committing the EU itself to any specific level of funding," Christian Aid warned. It calculates that the EU should pay at least 25 per cent of the global cost of responding to climate change.

Dr Doig adds that the new proposals will also fail to prevent catastrophic climate change.

"The plan to cut rich countries’ carbon emissions by 30 per cent by 2020 would put the world on track towards warming of much more than 2oC - the point at which the climate turns to chaos," she says.

"To keep climate change below 2C over 1990 levels, developed countries should cut their emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2020 and fund further cuts in developing countries."

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