April 22, 2009
I guess nobody has noticed that the well is dry?
$50B needed to deal with climate change
MANILA, Philippines—An international organization said Wednesday that developing countries like the Philippines need $50 billion a year to mitigate the effects of climate change.
According to the UK-based Oxfam, developed countries must extend this aid to developing countries and at the same time sign a global deal to reduce carbon emissions at a conference in Copenhagen at the end of the year.
These recommendations were incorporated in a 148-page study by the organization which it released in time for the global celebration of Earth Day.
The group also said that the number of people that will be affected by climate change in the next six years is projected at 375 million. By "affected" it meant people who suffer physical injuries or illness, or those made homeless or otherwise require immediate assistance as a result of disasters caused by climate change.
The large number is the result mainly of migration to densely populated areas which are in turn vulnerable to climatic events like typhoons.
"Everywhere, poor people are the most vulnerable to being killed or made destitute by disasters. In rich countries, an average of 23 people die in any given disaster; in the least-developed countries this is 1,052," said Oxfam spokesperson Kalayaan Pulido-Constantino.
She also said developed countries must agree to reduce domestic carbon emissions to keep global warming to as low as two degrees Centigrade "and to pledge at least $50 billion each year to help developing countries adapt to unavoidable climate change."
In its report, Oxfam said developed countries must extend aid to ensure that developing countries can prepare and withstand climate change.
"National governments, with the help of the international community, need to invest more in reducing the risk of disasters," the group said.
Their study also revealed that humanitarian aid all over the world was worth only $14.2 billion in 2006 and should be increased to at least $25 billion a year.
"We are facing a humanitarian challenge unlike no other in history. The world must be better prepared to cope with helping more vulnerable people who will face worsening disasters," said Pulido-Constantino.
In the Philippines, Oxfam said legislators must pass the Philippine Disaster Risk Management Act of 2009 to reduce the risk to communities posed by disasters caused by climate change. This law is meant to make the government stance toward disasters at the local level preventive rather than reactive.
Oxfam also batted for more "localized climate risk studies to improve development planning that incorporates risk reduction and to ensure access of vulnerable communities to scientific and evidence-based information related to their risks."
In coming up with its study, Oxfam analyzed data from the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) at Louvain University in Belgium.
In order to avoid catastrophic climate change, global warming must be kept as far below 2°C as possible, Oxfam said. This requires industrialized countries as a group to cut their emissions by 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020. This commitment must be made at the latest when they meet in Copenhagen at the end of this year to agree on a new global deal on climate change.