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Poor Could Pay Price For Climate Change

November 13th, 2009 by Severine Leave a reply »

Copenhagen will be holding the UN Climate Change Conference in December. Many feel this be the ultimate, last-chance gathering to interrupt the progression of global warming by reducing greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.

If so, regardless of the financial prejudice involved, failure to cooperate and agree to compromise will mean a depressing future for our planet and its population. Wealthier nations, such as the US (who didn’t sign the Kyoto accord back in 1997 fearing their economy would suffer), have demonstrated reluctance to cut carbon emissions to avoid the financial contributions entailed.

Unfortunately, until the US decides to sign up to targets, the rest of the world will be unwilling to do so. An example needs to be set, and time is running short.

In effect, disadvantaged countries are more vulnerable to climate change than richer ones, and this should urge the latter to suggest their help in the face of this shared adversity.

A set of measures have been identified as necessary to counterattack the climate threat:

- set emission reduction targets for industrial countries
- secure commitments by developing countries to slow emissions growth
- establish hard figures of funding for poor countries
- create an institution to manage those funds

It is of common interest to aid the poor to implement energy saving methods, as lack of action now could result in bigger costs down the line.
Developing countries, that will be the biggest emitters in the future, want around £250 billion per annum to help them cut emissions by becoming energy efficient, switching from fossil fuels to clean energy like wind and solar. The money will also help vulnerable countries like small island states adapt to climate change. As unlikely as this funding is currently, developed countries sway towards committing to a substantial contribution to keep the subject on the table.

Climate risk reduction officer for aid agency CAFOD, Agnes Kithikii, presents the issue as critical: “People are dying right now due to climate change and more people will die because of the delay in reaching a legally binding agreement this December in Copenhagen,” she said. “The US, EU, Australia and Canada and other rich countries are denying the poorest and most vulnerable people the right to a future.”

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