Climate Change Fallout May Cost Annual $50 Billion

Tuesday, December 2nd 2008, 9:50 am
By: News On 6

POZNAN, Poland – Developing countries will need at least $50 billion per year to deal with the consequences of climate change, money that could be raised by auctioning off some rights to emit greenhouse gases, an aid group said Tuesday.

Agreeing how to help poor nations adapt to conditions such as decreasing rainfall and harsher storms is a key challenge as negotiators from some 190 countries begin to thrash out details of a new climate change treaty to take effect in 2013.

"Vulnerable people around the world need help to build up their resilience, by upgrading flood early warning systems, planting mangrove shields along coasts to defuse storm waves and growing drought-tolerant crops," said Heather Coleman, a climate change expert for Oxfam International.

That will require at least $50 billion annually, and more if countries fail to agree on measures to prevent average temperatures from rising more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) above preindustrial levels, the group said.

It said the money could be raised by auctioning 7.5 percent of industrialized countries' rights to emit polluting gases under a new climate treaty to governments or private companies, money that would go to a fund under U.N. auspices.

Coleman argued that auctioning emission allowances in the aviation and shipping industries could produce an additional $28 billion annually.

Norwegian Finance Ministry official Leif Ervik said his country has advocated auctioning "a few percent" of emissions rights, and said that "we have found a lot of support for this."

Bangladeshi delegate Mohammas Reazuddin, whose densely populated country faces the threat of increasingly frequent flooding, voiced support for getting money from the proposals and underlined the urgency of the issue.

"We in Bangladesh and many other countries, every day, every hour, we are adapting to the situation," he said. "We are spending ... (but) we have not caused that problem."