Earth Day should remind us to include poor in global climate deal

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Check out this post from Andreas in our ONE German office about how Earth Day can be an excellent time to begin thinking how developed economies can support the poor in a global climate deal.

Earth Day reinvents itself periodically to bring out its messages loud and clear. In 1990, 20 years after its foundation, it went global. 10 years later, in 2000 it successfully focused on global warming. The message could be heard by people on the continent that will be hit hardest by the climate change: Africa. A talking drum chain traveled from village to village in Gabon.

It seems like 2009 is another key year for citizens to raise their voices, as it is the year in which the governments of the world need to agree on a global climate regime. But to do this, they will need the support of their citizens.

Which steps will take us to the “Post-Kyoto-Protocol”?

The global climate regime is scheduled for agreement in Copenhagen in December 2009. In preparation, the UNFCCC has convened several high-level meetings. The last one before Copenhagen was convened in Poznan, Poland in December 2008. Progress on this meeting was somewhat hampered by the fact that it took place during a transitional period in the US. This means other forums for global governance will now need to guide the highly complex discussions that climate negotiators will conduct in Bonn in June and August, Bangkok in September and at a venue yet to be confirmed in November.

A first political push may come from the “Major economies meeting “ to be held in Washington on April 27th-28th. The leaders of the 16 major economies will then meet again at the G8-summit in La Maddalena, Italy on July 8th-10th.

Another major moment is the next G20 summit. Although the date has not been set yet, it will certainly take place before the conference in Copenhagen in December.

What is needed from our political leaders?

Political leadership must take into account the interests of the poorest countries. African countries have contributed the least to the current climate change yet they will be hardest hit and are the least prepared. Fairness demands that the industrialized countries support African countries in adapting to these new challenges. The climate change agenda is very closely connected to the development agenda. Estimates of the funds needed to finance necessary adaptation measures in developing countries range between 28 and 86 billion USD annually. These funds need to be additional to development financing, as critical funding to reach the MDG s cannot be diverted for this new challenge. In addition, developing countries need to be enabled to embark on a low-carbon growth path. Recommendations for the negotiators are listed in a research paper that ONE has co-financed with UK NGOs.

-Andreas Huebers

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