For the past two weeks the UN Conference of Parties (COPs) have been meeting in Durban, South Africa, to discuss and negotiate steps to tackle climate change.
There is now an urgent need to adapt to climate change that is ‘already in the system’. Rising sea levels, the increased frequency of droughts and other extreme weather events only illustrate this. We also need to start shifting to a low-carbon global economy in the long-term. Funding these activities is expected to cost in the region of $200 billion a year.
However the reality is that, whilst the industrialisation of the developed world has caused the current environmental crisis, it is the poorest and most vulnerable countries and people that are being the hit hardest. And so, it is developed countries that should shoulder the financial costs (known as the ‘polluter pays’ principle).
This principle was followed during the 2009 COP meeting in Copenhagen, when developed countries committed to mobilising $100 billion a year by 2020 to finance climate activities. A Green Climate Fund (the details of which are still being negotiated) will allocate the $100 billion to developing countries. Yet the question remains – how can this level of funding be generated? This is just one of the issues on the agenda at the COP meeting in Durban.
Yesterday the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and Stamp Out Poverty published the report ‘Climate finance: a tool-kit for assessing climate mitigation and adaptation funding mechanisms’. The paper provides a means to assess and compare the various funding proposals on the table. By applying the tool-kit, the report suggests a ‘portfolio’ of mechanisms that could generate more than $70 billion a year – helping developed countries to meet their pledges.
Notably, the Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) stands out amongst the other mechanisms in terms of the quantity of revenue it could generate.
The publication was released at the same time as Ministers of France, South Africa, Norway, Bolivia (and organisations including WWF, Oxfam and ITUC) held a press conference in Durban on Innovative Sources of Finance to fill the Green Climate Fund.
You can read all about the event, and other Robin Hood actions in Durban, here.