Finance ministers 'double counting' to meet climate commitments

By agency reporter
June 9, 2009

EU finance ministers today (9 June) failed to agree on financial help for developing countries struggling with global warming, sending a worrying signal to negotiators at global climate talks in Bonn.

Christian Aid and other members of the Climate Action Network say that in addition, finance ministers have hit on a formula of ‘double counting’ in an attempt to escape their climate commitments.

The formula allows rich countries to reach their own emissions targets by ‘buying in’ cuts which are actually made in developing countries through the purchase of carbon offsets. The EU ministers’ formula suggests that these purchases should also count towards their funding of poor countries’ emissions cuts.

However, the payments should not be regarded as one and the same. Campaigners say that paying for carbon offsets, which allow rich countries to continue polluting, is an entirely different matter from rich countries paying for their historic responsibility for carbon emissions.

“The critical Copenhagen climate conference is around the corner. The European Commission itself has said: no money, no climate deal - but no money has been forthcoming,” says Christian Aid’s senior climate advocate Nelson Muffuh.

“Now it is up to Heads of State, who will meet next week, to put forward clear finance commitments. EU leaders must make their June Summit count and agree to repay their carbon debt to developing countries.

"By counting carbon market offsets towards the required financial support for developing countries, the ministers undermine the EU's goal of keeping global warming below 2oC," said Mr Muffuh.

The finance ministers who met in Luxembourg today ignored their own financial experts’ advice that 100 billion Euros a year is needed to help developing countries reduce their emissions, say campaigners. They also failed to make the clear, quantified commitments required to provide additional funding for adaptation in developing countries.

Campaigners are calling on European Heads of State, who will meet at the EU summit in Brussels next week, to agree on:

• Adequate EU funding, of the order of 35 billion Euros a year, for climate work in developing countries.

• A robust mechanism to raise predictable public funding under UN auspices, such as one that would be linked to the auction, levy or sale of emissions allowances.

• A guarantee that any funding will be new and additional to existing EU aid commitments.

• A strong consensus on internal burden sharing. The EU cannot afford to waste more time on internal disputes and should focus on negotiating a strong climate treaty in Copenhagen.

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