Now – when we are on our way to step into the second week of negotiations, the conflicts are again threatening to rise to the
surface. The fast-start money – promised in Copenhagen – is one of several burning issues.
One of the few things that requested the Copenhagen Accord from getting completely trashed was the paragraph on finance (CA §8): The rich
countries promised to mobilize 30 billion dollars in fast-start money for adaptation and mitigation in developing countries (2010 – 2012)
within the end of 2010. They also agreed to agree on (!) mechanisms that would generate at 100 billion dollars annually for the same
purpose from 2020 and beyond.
The UNFCCC doesn’t seem to have taken the first part of the paragraph too seriously. The only way it’s been possible to follow the progress
of these 30 billion (that both includes money already given and pledges for the future) have been at a Dutch webpage. The
numbers registered on this page counts to around 27 billion.
At first sight, this might look really good – looks like we are almost there! But if we look at the money a little bit more closely – it
doesn’t look so charming after all.
An essential part of the conditionalities for the money were that they are to be ”new and additional”. There are a lot of ways to define ”new
and additional”. Will the sources be new? Will the money be distributed through new channels? Will the money be additional to the
current money for adaptation and mitigation measures? Or will they be in addition of the current aid flows? Or in addition to the official
aid-goals – agreed on in the 40 year-old target of (0,7 of GNP) – in which Norway and Sweden seem to be the only countries to fulfil. Will
they be in addition to those aid-goals we can project in the future?
Without any clear definition – it will be up to the different parties to decide what they think is ”new and additional”. And if something
was missing in the 2,5 pages of the Copenhagen Accord – it is definitions. Parties of the group of G77 and China (a group of poor
and emerging countries) has sat down and done some calculation according to their understanding of the phrase. And after
this job – just a few billion dollars stands left.
And this is not all. Another unclear part of the Copenhagen Accord was how the money should be distributed between adaptation and mitigation
measures. The Copenhagen Accord only states that the money should be ”balanced”. But who defines what’s balanced?
Most developing countries would define ”balanced” as a 50/50 split. For the donor countries (or the debitors – since the rich countries
actually owes the developing countries for the situation they have brought them into) it is more tempting to understand ”balance” in a
less explicit way.
And according to research conducted by the University of Zurich the balance plays out to be between 10,3 and 16,1 percent of the pledged
amount. Wonder how developing countries that already are struggeling to adapt to climate change looks upon this?
Norway (”climate hero no.1”) on our behalf gives 0 percent to adaptation and 100 percent to mitigation (read preservation of
rainforest). This is a good strategy in the long term – but it is not what the poor countries need right now.
They need money to adapt – and they need it fast. Adaptation to climate change should not be something that the poor countries should
ask on their knees to get. It is something we owe them. And the small 30 billion is nothing when we think about the living standard that we
have, on their cost (and yes – this especially refers to big fossil nations as Norway).
A delegate from a G77 country said yesterday: Are they expecting us to buy a house – and then pray to get the money back?
Climate change is now – and has to be dealt with now. For poor countries, it is actually a question of life and death.