G8 displaying 'staggering disregard' for urgent action on climate finance

By agency reporter
July 8, 2009

G8 leaders are in danger of squandering opportunities and plunging poor people into deeper climate chaos and poverty, the aid agency Tearfund has said.

As the annual world leaders’ summit gets underway in what is seen as a crucial year for climate change, Tearfund says that announcements today by the countries responsible for causing the climate crisis fail to match the level of ambition which is desperately needed.

A post 2012 climate deal must be agreed in December.

Paul Cook, Advocacy Director for Tearfund, said: “What part of the word urgency do G8 leaders not understand?

“We sincerely hope that the Major Economies Forum (MEF) will step up to the mark and announce stronger commitments in their response on Thursday.

“Their reference to the need to keep global temperature rises below two degrees is welcome, as is their commitment to halve their own emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 and the recognition of the need to peak and decline emissions.

“However, they failed to set an ambitious goal for 2020 emissions targets and crucially, there is no reference of the urgent need to deliver billions, not millions, for financing mitigation, adaptation and technology to help poor countries respond to climate change.

“Adequate finance is the sticking point currently deadlocking negotiations and so far the group has failed to put their money where their mouths are.”

Tearfund is calling for developed countries to deliver funding in the range of $150 billion per year on top of Overseas Development Assistance.

In addition to long term funding, they are also urging world leaders to deliver ‘no strings’ new money to be distributed to poor countries before 2012.

Tearfund says that anything less will severely weaken relations between rich and poor nations and trigger a breakdown in trust that will block progress towards a strong and fair climate deal.
Looking towards the Major Economic Forums (MEF) communique to be released on Thursday, the relief and development agency hopes that where the G8 have failed, the MEF will succeed.

As well as climate change, the communiqué on Africa and Development released today, also fails to address the injustice that sees 900 million people worldwide go without clean water and 2.5 billion without a decent toilet.

“How many of these leaders would have been happy to come here if they were told there would be no toilet facilities or clean water?” said Paul Cook.

“G8 leaders were urged to sign up to a Global Framework for Action in order to reverse the current water and sanitation crisis plaguing developing countries. Instead they presented a vague reference to a plan of action by the end of the year and some nice words.

“No money was needed - it was a simple ask and they sadly failed to deliver.

“Over the next couple of days we must see an end to the half measures we have seen thus far. Platitudes and rhetoric must be replaced by concrete policy commitments if the G8 are going to continue to remain relevant in the arena of tackling global poverty issues”.

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