A new briefing by Greenpeace and nef (New Economics Foundation), shows that rich countries are already spending billions of dollars to adapt to climate change. Meanwhile poor countries, who will suffer the impacts of climate change first and worst, are being fatally short changed, as industrialised nations abdicate responsibility for a problem they are overwhelmingly responsible for creating.
'Cast Adrift', launched today at the international climate talks
in Buenos Aires, indicates the rising scale of the cost of adapting
to climate change. The briefing shows that developed nations are
planning to spend billions to foot their own bill for climate
change. By contrast, rich countries have committed to providing a
paltry $0.41 billion in additional funds to help poor countries
manage their emissions and adapt to climate change. To date only a
fraction of this has been made available.
"The rich country hypocrisy here is staggering", said Greenpeace
spokesperson Athena Ronquillo, "France alone is spending nearly
twice the amount committed to developing countries to adapt its
health service after just one heat wave".
"The developed world is legally and morally responsible for
meeting much of the adaptation costs in poor countries as well as
taking the lead in mitigating climate change. There is currently
very little evidence that they are doing either", concluded
Even more paradoxically, the developed world is subsidising its
own heavily polluting fossil fuel industry by $73 billion a
year,according to latest available estimates.
"Like confused firemen, the world's richest nations are
promising to hold back the flames of global warming with one hand
while pouring oil on the fire with the other. The law of the sea
dictates that able ships should always respond to an SOS, but on
top of double standards in domestic policy rich countries are also
abandoning the rest of the world, who are being cast adrift to cope
with a warming world" said Andrew Simms, nef Policy Director
The report is a stark reminder to governments at the climate
talks of the millions at risk from climate change and the
overwhelming costs in both human and economic terms of failing to
Greenpeace and nef believe that, at the very least, the funds
available for adaptation and mitigation to the majority world
should be substantially increased and are calling for an urgent
initial assessment of the cost of adaptation using the best
In the meantime rich countries should spend at least as much
helping the poor countries to adapt to climate change as they give
industry to fuel it, currently $73 billion.
Notes: See 'Cast Adrift' on:http://weblog.greenpeace.org/climatesummit/Examples of adaptation costs:USA - The USA has roughly 20,000 km of coastline and more than 32,000km of coastal wetlands. A recent OECD paper estimated the costs of adapting to a one metre sea level rise would amount to $156 billion (3% of GNP).EU - The briefing estimates that the construction costs of protecting the part of the EU coastline that is already eroding, could range from $6 to $32 billion.Tanzania - Compared to the $0.41 billion resource pledge for all countries, the US Global Change Resource Centre estimates that protecting the populated coastline of Tanzania alone a one-metre sea level rise would cost $14.6 billion. nef is a London based independent think-and-do tank that promotes new economic models for social and environmental well being . It won Think Tank of the Year in the UK for 2002-03.Greenpeace is an international environment organisation with more than 3 million supporters worldwide and with offices and programmes in more than 40 countries.The Tenth Session of the Conference of the Parties will be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina from 6 to 17 December 2004 at the "La Rural" exhibition centre. COP 10 will mark the 10th anniversary of the entry into force of the Framework Convention on Climate Change.