Civil Society Proposals to Raise Money for Developing South

Posted on 17 December 2009 by editor

By Joshua Kyalimpa

COPENHAGEN (IPS/TerraViva) – Adequate long-term funding will be vital if a meaningful climate deal is to be clinched at the ongoing UN climate change talks.

Steve Kretzmann, executive director of Oil Change International says as much as $200 billion a year is needed to fund responses to climate change. He is concerned that with only two days to the close of the negotiations, developed countries have only committed to ten billion dollars in short-term financing over the next three years.

Kretzmann says money could be found if priorities were put right. “Eleven trillion dollars was mobilised in a space of one month to restore the world economic order during the recent global economic downturn.”

The United States has spent three trillion dollars on its Iraq operations, and continues to spend five billion every year, he says. “When they want to get money, they get it. They have not given climate priority otherwise money could be got.”

Lidy Nacpil, director of civil society organisation Jubilee South Asia and Pacific MMD, wants the issue to be treated as an ecological debt.

“They need to recognise that this is a rights issue, to recognise that the sovereign right of people to have control of their patrimony and natural resources has been taken away.”

She says rich countries and corporations have to pay for damage which is irreversible.

“Even if there is zero carbon, there is already damage. Developing countries have to contend with only 25 percent of capacity and that has consequences for development. This is a matter of paying back,” Nacpil asserts.

Janet Redman, of the U.S.-based Institute for Policy Studies, proposes that future funding be channeled through a Global Climate Fund rather than existing financial institutions such as the World Bank and IMF which she says have not been responsive to the climate needs.

Civil society has made several proposals on how to raise money.

Kretzmann says if a tax on all financial transactions was put in place, it could potentially raise 20 billion dollars or more each year.

“A transaction tax would not hurt the local person; it still goes to the corporations. It is they who do transactions daily after all they contribute to the climate change.”

Another proposal could be special drawing rights (SDRs), funding from the International Monetary Fund. Kretzmann says that reserves being held by the IMF could be used now since this is an emergency. “It happened before when 100 billion was made available from the International monetary fund during the credit crunch.

He also suggests phasing out the 300 billion dollars of annual subsidies to fossil fuels, instead directing that money to fund solutions. About 150 billion dollars in subsidies is given to corporations operating in developing countries.

(END/2009)

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