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Hey, must be the money!

December 7, 2009

Annex I countries win Fossil of the Day

Financial commitments from developed countries starting firming up today. And the developing countries weren’t exactly doing cartwheels with joy.

Developing countries negotiators and humanitarian/environmental activists have long called for an Adaptation Fund to help countries most vulnerable to climate catastrophe adapt to new climate conditions. Better levees for increased flooding. Improved food security for harsher droughts. However, until recently the amount of money developed countries would pledge has been a mystery. At the Bangkok negotiations, an “elephant piggy bank” was placed at the head negotiators’ table to indicate the “elephant in the room” was the absence of financial commitments.

On Friday, the US announced support for contributing its “fair share” to a $10 billion a year fund by 2011. Jonathan Pershing echoed this commitment in the LCA plenary today. Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC has supported this level of funding, but others are upset. Previously, the UN estimated that $140-$170 billion per year may be necessary. In June, British PM Gordon Brown suggested creating a fund of $100 billion per year.  While the amount requested may be staggering to the average blogger (I debated for five minutes whether to buy $3 honey-roasted almonds yesterday), the cost of inaction may be higher.

At the Conference of Youth on Saturday, Kumi Naidoo likened hesitant negotiators to the federal government before Hurricane Katrina.  New Orleans requested money to improve its levees months before Katrina, but the money was not delivered. As a result, lives were lost and billions was spent in reconstruction. Compare that to the millions requested.

As I sat in the corner of one of the giant conference rooms with four HD projector screens, the Bolivian delegate took the floor. “Ten billion dollars a year is absolutely insufficient,” he said. For scale, he compared $10bn to the trillions that are regularly moved by world banks and the tremendous sums spent around the world on war projects.

For their weak financial commitments, all developed countries (Annex I) were awarded the first daily “Fossil of the Day Award,” an award given to the group most obstructive to progress towards a fair, ambitious, binding treat. See the video of the award ceremony below.

Now that countries are talking outloud about the money they envision contributing, the pressure to increase the total has just begun.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. KILLAcam permalink
    December 8, 2009 8:16 pm

    YAY ANTHONY!

    HI I’M CAMERON AND I’M A SINNER BUT I LOVE JESUS AND I WANT TO TELL THE WORLD

    I HOPE IT IS AWESOME CHANGING THE WORLD THERE!

    Cameron

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