(Durban, South Africa) Today’s funding announcement for fast start financing is a late indication that Canada remains committed to delivering fast start financing to support urgent climate action in poorer countries. On the surface, the total amount pledged ($1.2bn over 3 years, as previously announced) is in line with Canada’s fair share of the financing commitments made in Copenhagen and Cancun, although the announcement has left every important question unanswered. It is also important to see this announcement in the context of the role the government is playing in the current UN climate talks.
“Although welcomed, this announcement unfortunately can offer little comfort to countries that feel abandoned following revelations that Canada was participating in the negotiations despite having already decided to formally withdraw from Kyoto on December 23rd,” says Patrick Bonin of AQLPA. “Fast start financing, although absolutely critical, must be put into the context of the current government’s path that would take the global climate from crisis to catastrophe.”
Poorer countries already suffering from the impacts of climate change are unanimously calling on rich nations to continue with the Kyoto Protocol in order to ensure global temperatures do not exceed the dangerous 2 degree Celsius threshold. Beyond this threshold, the costs of adaptation would become unmanageable not only for the most vulnerable countries, but for the world.
“For rich countries like Canada who are largely responsible for climate change, support for climate action abroad must go hand in hand with reducing greenhouse gas emissions at home,” says Donald LaFleur of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers. “It must be seen as a package deal – one without the other will not cut it.”
Critical questions on the details of Canada’s financing pledge were left unanswered by today’s announcement. No information was given on the source of the funds or how they will be allocated. Without details, it is not possible to assess whether this contribution represents an improvement over the previous tranche, which was criticized for allocating only 11% of total funding to adaptation and providing 72% of the total financing in the form of loans to the World Bank’s private sector lending arm. Minister Kent suggested that just over half of the funding would be provided in the form of loans, with the remainder in grants, according to media reports. However, this was not specified in any of the material released.
“Canada’s announcement of climate finance for 2011 and 2012 is welcome news. Certainly better late than never,” says Mark Fried of Oxfam Canada. “The key unanswered question is how much of it will help meet the urgent need for adaptation in developing countries.”
The Canadian Youth Delegation was present at the Minister’s press conference today dressed in suits covered in oil industry logos. “We are exposing the Canadian Government’s real agenda at the negotiations,” says Chris Bisson of the Canadian Youth Delegation. This announcement was just used as a distraction from the fact that Canada is putting the interests of polluters before its people.”
Fast start financing is an effort to ensure immediate resources for countries adapting to climate change. The permanent ‘Green Climate Fund’, which will replace fast start financing needs to reach $100 billion/year by 2020, is currently under negotiation in Durban.
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