Australia should not go to Lima empty handed Media Release

Dec 09, 2014 - 12:00am

This is a joint statement by the following organisations: Oxfam Australia, World Vision Australia, ActionAid Australia, CARE Australia, Save the Children Australia, ACFID, Plan in Australia, ACF, WWF Australia, Childfund, CBM Australia, Caritas and The Climate Institute.  

Leaders of key development and climate change organisations strongly urge Australia to join global efforts and make a credible investment in climate finance through the Green Climate Fund.

Country representatives have gathered in Lima, Peru to continue work on a new global framework to tackle climate change. Action is needed on multiple fronts and the Green Climate Fund is one of these international efforts. It helps finance poorer, vulnerable countries to build low-carbon economies and manage the risks and costs of global warming.

Twenty-three countries have now pledged $US9.95 billion of the Fund’s initial $10-15 billion target, including some developing nations (see graphic below). In contrast to the US pledge of $A3.5 billion, the Japanese pledge of $A1.75 billion and pledges from our near neighbours, Australia has not yet made any contribution to capitalisation of the Fund.

Many countries in Australia’s own Indo-Pacific region are small island nations and developing countries that will be hit hard by the impacts of climate change.

Supporting the adaptation of communities through early intervention will help safeguard the development gains achieved in recent decades.

We all know prevention is better than cure. If we fail to invest in building resilience in our region, we impose far greater costs in the future.

Children in developing countries have contributed least to the causes of climate change, but will be among the worst affected by it. We must not burden the next generation with this challenge.

We call on the Australian Government to join our global peers in contributing to the Green Climate Fund in line with international commitments to provide finance to assist developing countries to tackle climate change. Such funds should augment, not replace, current aid funding.

This is not only vital in meeting our shared responsibility for the global climate, but it is vital for our own interests.

It is in Australia’s national interest to have a stable and sustainable region where people are not forced to leave their homes permanently due to inhospitable weather patterns, infertile soils, food and water scarcity, and rising sea levels.

It is also in our interest to achieve a strong global framework for climate action where responsibilities are shared in an equitable way between all countries.

Australia has a strong track record of giving generously when countries in our region face natural disasters and a history of bipartisan leadership, effectiveness and innovation in climate finance.

The Prime Minister has publicly stated his support for a strong global agreement at Paris in 2015. As a wealthy major economy, Australia can and should play its fair part in helping the world’s poorer nations deal with the impacts of global warming. This should include a contribution to climate finance through the Green Climate Fund.

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