Activists press U.S. to provide overseas climate funding
Under last year's Copenhagen climate summit accord, wealthy nations promised to mobilize $100 billion a year by 2020 for developing nations.
Thu, May 20, 2010 at 02:34 PM
CLIMATE BILL: The activists support legislation introduced last week in the Senate to set up the first U.S. nationwide plan to fight climate change. (Photo: Harry Hamburg/AP)
Environment and anti-poverty campaigners on Thursday urged the United States to ramp up support for poor nations to cope with climate change, saying that current funding proposals fell far short.
The groups broadly support legislation introduced last week in the Senate to set up the first U.S. nationwide plan to fight climate change, but said the bill neglected so-called "adaptation" funding for the developing world.
"When it comes to adaptation, this bill is pathetic. It just doesn't begin to respond to the fundamental issues of fairness and justice," said the Reverend Jim Wallis, founder of the Christian social justice group Sojourners.
"It's time for us to stop contributing most to this problem, impacting those who contributed least and taking no responsibility for our behavior," he told reporters on a conference call.
The climate bill, introduced by Senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman, is a carefully negotiated compromise that would restrict carbon emissions but also seeks industry support by backing coal, nuclear power and offshore drilling.
"The coal states make sure that coal-mining interests are well-represented, the nuclear industry is well-represented, but who is speaking out for the poorest around the world? They don't have lobbyists," Wallis said.
Under the Senate bill, 1.5 percent of proceeds from the system of emission restrictions would go to adaptation — half internationally and half domestically — starting in 2019. The figure would rise to 6.0 percent by 2030.
Raymond Offenheiser, president of Oxfam America, said that a larger, quicker US commitment could help hard-fought negotiations on a new global treaty.
"Such investments would obviously showcase American leadership on the international stage and help us deliver global action," Offenheiser said.
Under the accord at last year's Copenhagen climate summit, wealthy nations promised to jointly mobilize 100 billion dollars a year by 2020 for developing nations.
Eric Haxthausen, director for US climate policy at The Nature Conservancy, estimated the Senate bill would mean about $750 million for international adaptation starting in 2019.
It would be well down from a bill approved last year by the House of Representatives, which Haxthausen estimated would provide seven billion dollars a year and also support efforts to curb the actual emissions and deforestation.
Copyright 2010 AFP Global Edition