Climate Change Adaptation Fund proposed by Brown, Britain to contribute £500M

Brown and Sarkozy

Credit: Yves Herman/Pool/EPA

A global ‘Tobin’ tax on financial transactions should be used to pay for the long battle against global warming, Gordon Brown announced in a joint statement with Nicolas Sarkozy today. The UK would be the biggest contributor, giving £500m pounds a year.

The statement came alongside a European Union commitment of €2.4bn a year from January to immediately help the world’s poor countries cope with climate change.

Read Gordon Brown’s joint statement with Sarkozy in full.

Read The Guardian report.

Copenhagen is an opportunity for International Development too

The problem with climate change is that it and its consequences are still somewhat esoteric. But, for the developing world the consequences will come sooner and cause hardship beyond belief, the effects of which will also hit the developed world. There’s a lot at stake at Copenhagen for the developing world and it is this factor that provides a uniquely human angle to the, as yet, academic debate around climate change.

There is welcome news of a $10 billion fund to support countries to develop their capacities to deal with climate change and it is vital that this fund becomes properly entrenched in the climate change regime. But why do we need it? Why do we, in the West, have to bail out ‘third world’ countries when we are struggling to meet the challenge ourselves?

The problems that developing countries will face are well documented: rising sea levels, desertification, and extreme weather will all cause disproportionate hardship in the developing world. Industrialisation in many developing countries is dispossessing traditional communities, eradicating swathes of forest land, and destroying the biodiversity of complex ecosystems.

But, to put it frankly, why should we do anything now?

The first point to note that climate change is a commons issue: emissions do not respect national boundaries. Therefore, if China, India, Brazil or any other industrialising country pump out tonnes of carbon using older, non-environmentally friendly technology, it still hurts us and the rest of the world. But carbon-intensive production methods are still the cheapest. Clearly, if we are to save the atmosphere we all share, we need to support developing countries in adopting environmentally friendly methods.

The other main factor is the extreme societal breakdown that would occur. Thomas Homer Dixon creates a vivid picture of the global disruption that would follow from environmental breakdown. Not for the faint-hearted, The Upside of Down describes a world where energy-scarcity provokes war, food-shortages cause mass migration and famine, growing poverty provokes insurrection and unstable violent regimes seize power. The threats to peace and security are obvious. As developing economies collapse, trade will suffer and the markets that the global North imports from and exports to will cease to provide custom.

To put it succinctly, if we do nothing to help the developing world, cataclysm is a very real possibility. Initially, our suffering will be nothing compared to that of the developing world. People living in countries without a developed social safety net will suffer disproportionately as their developing industry bases are heavily hit by extreme weather, nor will those economies be able to fund redevelopment. This is the beginning of a downward spiral that only ends in global unrest and, yes, that includes us. But it does not have to be this way: if we support developing economies in an environmentally sustainable way, the future can be much brighter.

Copenhagen may not be the only chance to secure the proper support for developing countries and their citizens, but it is most certainly the best. Minds are now targeted on climate change and its effects and can provide funding on a scale that will not be easily achieved through bilateral or private industry arrangements. As Douglas Alexander said on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, “In terms of the affordability of dealing with climate change, Nicholas Stern’s own work – the most definitive work on the economics of climate change- begs the question can we afford not to take this action?” This question underlines everything that will go on at Copenhagen, which is no less true for developing economies.

And don’t forget, if you haven’t already, to show your support for the Government’s actions at Copenhagen: sign up to Ed’s Pledge.

by Tim Nicholls

Join The Wave this Saturday + Ed’s Pledge

  • What: The Wave Climate March
  • When: 11.30 – 16.00, this Saturday 05 December
  • Where: Grosvenor Square, London (meet by the Labour & Unison Banners)

On Saturday 5 December 2009, ahead of the crucial UN climate summit in Copenhagen, tens of thousands of people from all walks of life will flow through the streets of London to demonstrate their support for a safe climate future for all. Part of a global series of public actions, The Wave will call on world leaders to take urgent action to secure a fair international deal to stop global warming exceeding the danger threshold of 2 degrees C.

We can be proud of what our Labour Government is doing to push for a deal that is ambitious, effective and above all fair – putting forward extra aid to help poor countries adapt to the impact of climate change.

Gordon Brown last week proposed a ‘Copenhagen Launch Fund’ to help poorer countries adapt of $10 billion, towards which the UK would contribute £800 million. This is exactly the sort of leadership that is needed in these crucial talks, and I hope that the rest of the EU and the US agree to it.

So please come along to The Wave this Saturday, and sign up to Ed’s Pledge, to show our support for Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband’s work to get an ambitious, effective and just deal at Copenhagen.

Talk tonight on Beyond Copenhagen with Douglas Alexander, Oxfam & Greenpeace

  • What: “Beyond Copenhagen” Talk by Compass
  • When: 19:00 to 20:30, Tonight
  • Where: Houses of Parliament

Tonight there will be a talk by the Labour pressure group Compass on where next after the climate change talks in Copenhagen. Douglas Alexander & Oxfam’s Campaigns & Policy Director Phil Bloomer will be on the panel, so it should have a strong development focus. To register, email Compass

Speakers: Hon Douglas Alexander MP, International Development Secretary; Phil Bloomer, Oxfam; Robin Oakley, Head of Climate & Energy Campaigns, Greenpeace UK  and chaired by The Daily Telegraph’s Mary Riddell.

Interesting article on Labour List on climate change & Angola

This article on Labour List examines what we can learn from Angola’s efforts to rebuild its society, following decades of civil war, in helping us in the UK change our society and economy so that we can avert climate catastrophe.

“Imagine if local communities could set the priorities, visions and goals for how they might reduce climate change along with the government. Sound idealistic? Well, such an arrangement has been established not in the field of climate change but in development. We are not talking about the UK. We are talking about the African state of Angola, emerging from over three decades of civil war.”

The article is written by Anthony Painter is author of Barack Obama: Movement for Change.

Walking to Copenhagen

Push on his walk to Copenhagen

Push, Oxfam's Climate Change Campaigner, (left) with friend Abbas

Push, Oxfam’s Global Climate Change Campaigner, is walking from his home in Oxford to the Copenhagen for the crunch UN climate change talks happening in two weeks time.

On Sunday I joined Push on one day of his walk, an 11mile stretch from Hertford to Bishop’s Stortford in Hertfordshire. Push has always been an inspritation to those around him, and has in my mind one of the best jobs in the world – helping to mobilise people at the grassroots around the world to take action against poverty.

In 2005, he and his team supported local organisations to mobilise millions of farmers and workers in the global South as part of the Make Trade Fair campaign around the World Trade talks, and Oxfam has been hard at work with others to do the same this year ahead of the climate change talks in Copenhagen.

It’s crucial that in these global talks the voices of the world’s poorest people are heard – they are the least responsible for climate change and yet are being hit hardest the worst. Oxfam and others in the Tck Tck Tck campaign are doing great work in mobilising people across the world to speak up for themselves and be heard.

In the UK, I’m proud of what our Labour Government is doing to push for a deal that is ambitious, effective and above all fair – putting forward extra aid to help poor countries adapt to the impact of climate change. I hope Ed Miliband and the UK delegation do all they can to bring the US & the rest of the EU on board to get the deal we need out of Copenhagen.

I’d really recommend following Push’s walk on his blog – goPushgo.com – it’s an inspiring journey. Here is a link to his article in The Guardian.

Other great ways to support a just deal on climate change: