Let's Find $2 Billion a Year to Help Poor Countries Adapt to Climate Change

rice farmer bangladesh photo

photo: International Rice Research Institute via flickr.

Helping poor nations adapt to climate change and mitigate the effects already being seen—the first official climate refugees just permanently left their homes on island off Papua New Guinea—really has to be pushed higher up the agenda of wealthy nations. To that end, the Commission on Climate Change and Development has just presented a report to the United Nations which details just how much aid needs to be given. It's about 0.7% of GDP; that works out to be about one to two billion dollars a year:The report also stresses that this $1-2 billion per year is additional aid, and should not come at the expense of other official development assistance.

Human & Technological Aid Both Required
The goal, according to CCCD, is in increasing the adaptive capacity and resilience of poor nations so that they can better cope with climate change; that's the human element. In some places developed technical measures, which might not have been required absent climate change, should also be developed. Additionally, this sort of development needs to come together with disaster risk reduction.

If We Can Bail Out Banks, Surely We Can Help the Poor
This quote from the report's introduction really is dead on:

The international community seems less concerned about the failing climate system than about failing financial institutions. It hesitates to speak of millions for adaptation to climate change, but mobilizes billions for the financial crisis. Faced with a global crisis, nations risk turning inward, focusing on narrow concerns, which would be a historic mistake. [...]

Climate change also presents humankind with a historic opportunity to make development more sustainable, encompassing a low-carbon economy and addressing the risks posed by climate change. It offers an opportunity to create trust and cooperation to better manage all crises, to fashion a market built on ecological truths as well as economic data, to redefine the way we measure growth and prosperity. It provides an opportunity for developing renewable energy for growth, providing the vulnerable with resources for adaptive capacity, and reducing the risk of disaster. The responses to climate change provide an opportunity to address the inherent inequity in the climate process and to create equity within nations, among nations, and between generations.

For those international relations wonks out there, here's the report: Commission on Climate Change and Development: Closing the Gaps
Global Climate Change
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