Development, debt and environmental organizations called on the G8 and other wealthy countries today to pay more than $50 billion a year to help cover the costs of dealing with climate change. This amount will only grow if the G8 fails to show leadership at the G8 Summit in Heiligendamm, Germany.

The group included Oil Change International, Jubilee South, Jubilee USA, Friends of the Earth International and others. G8 countries emit more than 40 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases each year, yet they represent only about 13 percent of the world’s population.

By comparison, the world’s poorest countries have barely contributed to the problem, yet they will be forced to pay the highest price if the G8 fails to reduce emissions and refuses to pay its climate debt.

“Climate change is a reality and those most responsible for the problem should be forced to pay the costs,” said Lidy Nacpil of Jubilee South. “The G8 owes a climate debt to the world’s most impoverished countries and they should pay their debts,” she continued.

The Fourth Assessment Report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that “[e]ven the most stringent mitigation efforts cannot avoid further impacts of climate change in the next few decades, which makes adaptation essential, particularly in addressing near-term impacts.” Estimates suggest that this adaptation will cost developing countries as much as $50 billion a year, and much more if the G8 and other countries fail to reduce emissions dramatically.

The World Bank has estimated that it will cost between $10 to $40 billion per year to climate-proof investments in developing countries; others have argued that this figure falls short of the true cost. In a recent report, Oxfam International argued that the true cost was at least $50 billion and that the cost would grow if action was not taken to reverse rising greenhouse gases and avoid dangerous climate change (See Adapting to Climate Change: What’s Needed in Poor Countries and Who Should Pay, Oxfam, May 2007).

One Comment

  • G8 – The aftermath

    I can’t help feeling that the same outcome to last years resolve to help the poor countries will also be repeated over the next 12 months on this year’s agreement on climate change.
    Why? – For the same reason that the credibility of the G8 leaders ability to achieve and care is now coming under increasingly serious question.
    Their traditional thinking is actually impeding our ability to create the change necessary for relieving poverty and reversing climate change – after all it is this thinking that is the cause of these problems in the first place – and is therefore by definition incapable of providing a solution.
    Managing our resources by the discipline of “supply and demand” means there will always be poverty.
    Our inability to recognise the need to manage this planet and its resources means increasing environmental imbalance.
    A political will that continues to ignore the above two factors in favour of vested interests means a continuation of doomed G8 and other such “summits”
    Unless and until we can review and change our traditional beliefs in the way we manage each other and our planet, all the pledges on earth will come to nothing.
    Any guesses as to how long it will take for the latest undertakings to actually occur or have any effect, or not – no prizes but maybe we should start looking a little more for solutions outside the box!

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