Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Gordon Brown's Adaptation Fund Proposal

Last week, Gordon Brown, in a speech, said that the UK, and other developed countries should contribute to a 60 billion pounds annually to help poor nations mitigate and adapt to climate change. Key highlights:

"Today there can be no support for agriculture or water management in developing countries, for example, which is not also adaptation expenditure. Giving the rural poor access to renewable energy is both climate mitigation and poverty reduction...

So all official development assistance will now have to be climate-proofed to ensure that it properly takes into account the impacts of climate change...

So today I propose we take a working figure for this purpose of around $100 billion per annum by 2020."

Brown framed this fund as part of global efforts to combat poverty and reach millennium development goals. Not surprisingly, Rwanda, a nation with a history of ethnic conflict, quickly endorsed the speech.

While mitigating carbon emissions is critical, making sure vulnerable and developing countries - often the same - can adapt to the climate scenarios that will already happen and could get worse is just as important. Brown's speech represents a major proposal by a developed nation towards adaptation measures in the developing world, that will pre-empt climate change's destabilizing effects. The draft proposal by the Major Economies Forum suggested an initial $400 million fast start towards an adaptation fund.

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