Nhan Dan Online - Wealthier countries must take the lead in cutting carbon emission to prevent catastrophic reversals in health, education and poverty reduction for the world’s poor, while providing incentives for developing countries to follow suit, says the 2007/2008 Human Development Report (HDI) on climate change launched in Hanoi today.
The report entitled “Fighting climate change: Human solidarity in a divided world” The UNDP report paints an alarming picture of climate change and urges richer countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050, with cuts of 30% by 2020.
On its first page, the document states that "climate change is now a scientifically established fact. We know enough to recognise that there are large risks, potentially catastrophic ones."
The report sets out a pathway for climate change negotiations in Bali, Indonesia and stresses that a narrow ten-year window of opportunity remains to put it into practice. If that window is missed, temperature rises of above two degrees Celsius could see the disappearance of the Himalayan glaciers that provide water and food for over two billion people, the displacement of 22 million people in Vietnam and the destruction of 45% of Mekong Delta farmland as sea levels continue to rise.
“Already people are feeling the effects of rising temperatures in Vietnam. Floods and storms are hammering coastal areas and climate change is making that worse,” said John Hendra, UN Resident Co-ordinator in Vietnam at the report’s launch.
He estimated that the country would be one of the most affected by climate change and at the same time, a nation with the opportunity and influence to affect international decisions, including at the upcoming UN global conference on climate change in Bali.
Climate change could have apocalyptic consequences for the world's poor and tackling it will require cuts in greenhouse gases costing 1.6% of global annual GDP, the UN Development Program said in a report Tuesday.
"This is not an insignificant investment. But it represents less than two-thirds of global military spending. The costs of inaction could be much higher," the UNDP report said.
"It is the poorest who did not, and still are not contributing significantly to greenhouse gas emissions that are the most vulnerable."
“The critical challenge for Asia in the face of climate change is to expand access to affordable energy, while at the same time decarbonising growth,” said UNDP Administrator Kemal Dervi, stressing that “international co-operation is vital to unlock win-win scenarios that enhance both the climate security and the energy security that are vital for growth and poverty reduction.”
The report emphasises that a key driver of growing emissions is deforestation, though the profit made from felling trees across the developing world could be dwarfed by the benefits of conservation. The proposed reductions in emissions are "stringent but affordable," the report says.
Above all, it challenges the entire human community to undertake prompt and strong collective action based on shared values and a shared vision.
The report recommends establishing a Climate Change Mitigation Facility (CCMF), financed by developed countries and designed to provide incentives, including access to clean energy technology, to guide developing countries to a greener development pathway. This is essential because developing countries will be responsible for an increasing share of emissions, say the authors.
The aim of the UN report was to encourage countries to confront the problem, said Ken Watkins, a member of the expert team that prepared the document.
"We are issuing a call to action, not providing a counsel of despair. Working together with resolve, we can win the battle against climate change," Watkins said.
The report concludes that “one of the hardest lessons taught by climate change is that the economic model which drives growth and the profligate consumption in rich nations that goes with it, is ecologically unsustainable.” But the authors argue, “with the right reforms, it is not too late to cut greenhouse gas emissions to sustainable levels without sacrificing economic growth: that rising prosperity and climate security are not conflicting objectives.”
Pathway for Bali
Fighting climate change lays out a definitive checklist for all political leaders meeting in Bali in December— a pathway for a binding and enforceable post 2012 multilateral agreement that the authors stress will be essential to buttress our planet and its poorest people against the worst impacts of climate change:
· Cut emissions from developing countries by 20% by 2050 and from developed countries by 30% by 2020 and at least 80% by 2050, compared to 1990 levels.
· Create a Climate Change Mitigation Facility to finance the incremental low-carbon energy investment in developing countries, to give them both the means to switch to low emission pathways and the incentive to commit to binding international emission cuts. This would need an investment of US $25-50 billion annually.
· Put a proper price on carbon through a combination of carbon taxation and an PR-ASI A-5 ambitious global expansion of cap-and-trade schemes.
· Strengthen regulatory standards by adopting and enforcing tougher efficiency standards on vehicle, building and electrical appliance emissions.
· Support the development of low carbon energy provision, recognizing unexploited potential for an increase in the share of renewable energy used and the need for urgent investment in breakthrough technologies such as carbon capture and storage (CCS).
· Allocate US $86 billion, or 0.2% of northern countries’ combined GDP to adaptation to climate proof infrastructure and build the resilience of the poor to the effects of climate change.
· Make adaptation part of all plans to reduce poverty and extreme inequality, including poverty reduction strategy papers (PRSPs).
· Recognize carbon sequestration on forests and land as essential parts of a future global agreement and back international finance transfer plans on deforestation as advocated by Brazil among others.
Return to the list <<<<<