Australia offers crumbs on climate finance Media Release

Oct 12, 2009 - 8:00am

Australia's lack of decisive action on international financing to drive clean energy growth in developing countries at recent UN Climate talks in Thailand has diminished its negotiating credibility and helped prolong the damaging standoff between developed and developing countries, The Climate Institute said today.

Two weeks of UN sponsored climate negotiations in Bangkok ended in disappointment on Friday as developed countries-- notably Australia-- failed to deliver crucial financing mechanisms to enable developing countries to adapt to climate change impacts and mitigate emissions.

"Prime Minister Rudd had previously said that delivering climate financing for developing countries 'has to be dealt with' but his Government failed to deliver on this rhetoric in Bangkok," said Erwin Jackson, The Climate Institute's Director of Policy and Research.

"Australia needed to deliver a 'main course' of initiatives that would set out mechanisms to enable developing countries to receive public and private financing but has delivered only 'policy crumbs'.

"Australia's lack of engagement on the crucial issue of financing, the key to a global agreement, is also at odds with Mr. Rudd's, and the Coalition's, acknowledgement of the national interest which is an international agreement that keeps global greenhouse gas concentrations at 450 parts per million (ppm) or lower."

Key proposals needed from Australia are:

  • A clear and unambiguous statement on the scale of public and private finance that will be needed annually to avoid a 2oC increase in global temperature above preindustrial levels.
  • Recognition of principles that must underpin efforts to mobilise international climate finance, e.g. that new public finance will be additional to overseas development assistance.
  • A statement of support for one or more of the possible mechanisms to generate predictable climate finance, for example a commitment to a significant proportion of future CPRS permit revenue and recognitions that that revenue from mechanisms to reduce emissions from international shipping and aviation will be used for climate change financing.

"Next week's meeting of the Major Emitters Forum, being attended my Climate Change Minister Penny Wong, is another chance to dish up some serious options from our Government.

"Australia needs to stop holding back on fundamental aspects of climate negotiations to help rebuild political momentum to talks dangerously close to stalling," concluded Mr Jackson.

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