Australia empty handed for global climate fund
29 October 2019 at 8:30 am
“This is a key opportunity for collective, international action and it’s disappointing Australia isn’t part of it.”
Australian aid groups have slammed the federal government’s decision to bow out of the Green Climate Fund, saying it will not only affect their ability to carry out front line work but will hurt the world’s most vulnerable people.
It’s the second year Australia has refused to provide new funds to the global agreement, which was set up in 2010 to help developing nations cut emissions and adapt to the climate crisis.
To date, more than 110 projects in developing nations have been supported via the fund, including the expansion of solar power in Nigeria and Mali, and the restoration of forests in Honduras.
At the Green Climate Fund pledging conference, held in Paris on Thursday, 27 countries raised $9.8 billion to fund green projects for the 2020-2023 period.
Australia and the United States refused to commit any new funds, while Canada, Austria, and the Netherlands have contributed a third of what Oxfam has calculated to be their fair share.
Germany, Norway, France, the UK, Sweden, South Korea, Denmark, Iceland, Poland, Luxembourg, Ireland, and Monaco announced a doubling of their contributions.
New Zealand announced a fivefold increase in its contributions, and Slovenia came forward as a first time donor.
Oxfam Australia’s climate change expert, Dr Simon Bradshaw, said it was shameful that Australia has joined the United States as one of only two countries walking away from the Green Climate Fund and turning its back on the world’s poorest people.
“We are dismayed that at a time when vulnerable communities – in particular, our neighbours throughout the Pacific – are facing ever more grave threats to their livelihoods, security, and wellbeing, that Australia would stop funding one of their most critical lifelines,” Bradshaw said.
“The Green Climate Fund is both a vital source of support to those on the frontlines of the climate crisis and key to enabling developing countries to build the zero-carbon economies of the future.”
Megan Williams, World Vision senior humanitarian policy advisor, told Pro Bono News it was disappointing Australia would miss out on a chance to be part of collective action on climate change.
“This is a key opportunity for collective, international action and it’s disappointing Australia isn’t part of it,” Williams said.
She urged all sides of the community sector to call on the government to reinstate the funding.
“Given the scale of the problem, we need governments to collectively respond to this issue so they can support the people who are going to be hardest hit by the impacts of climate change,” she said.