Adapting to Climate Change

What’s needed in poor countries, and who should pay

Published: 29 May 2007

Climate change is forcing vulnerable communities in poor countries to adapt to unprecedented climate stress. Rich countries, primarily responsible for creating the problem, must stop harming, by fast cutting their greenhouse-gas emissions, and start helping, by providing finance for adaptation.

In developing countries Oxfam estimates that adaptation will cost at least $50bn each year, and far more if global emissions are not cut rapidly. Urgent work is necessary to gain a more accurate picture of the costs to the poor. According to Oxfam’s new Adaptation Financing Index, the USA, European Union, Japan, Canada, and Australia should contribute over 95 per cent of the finance needed. This finance must not be counted towards meeting the UN-agreed target of 0.7 per cent for aid. Rich countries are planning multi-billion dollar adaptation measures at home, but to date they have delivered just $48m to international funds for least-developed country adaptation, and have counted it as aid: an unacceptable inequity in global responses to climate change.

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