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).