EU ministers should take initiative on climate finance to break deadlock of US/China- dominated climate talks

Published: 13th October 2010

EU environment ministers could break through the dominance of China and the US that prevented progress at the Tianjin climate talks by making key decisions on climate finance when they meet in Luxembourg today, says international agency Oxfam.

Oxfam is calling on the EU environment ministers to outline a finance package to help those already bearing the brunt of climate change. The package will help breathe new life into the climate negotiations and maximize European Union influence at the next UNFCCC meeting in Cancun at the end of November.

The package should include:

  • Support for a new Global Climate Fund which will ensure that climate cash is processed transparently and delivered where it is needed most, and which places adaptation at the heart of tackling climate change alongside mitigation. An Oxfam report launched last week revealed that less than 10 per cent of the total climate funds delivered so far are for adaptation
  • The EU reporting of the $30bn Fast Start Finance promised last year must clearly show that it is new money, on top of the 0.7 per cent aid commitment. At the moment there are different interpretations on what is additional. Oxfam is clear that climate money must be on top of the 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income pledged, not on the amount that has been delivered so far as this would mean diverting aid from health and education to pay for the new, additional burden facing millions of vulnerable people. 
  • A signal that the $100bn a year pledged by rich countries in Copenhagen should come from public sources only, building on last year’s EU agreement that at least  €22-50bn per year should come from public sources by 2020. Only public funds can ensure that vital projects that are not attractive to private investors get the funding needed so communities can adapt to the effects of climate change

Oxfam’s EU policy adviser Tim Gore said: “Climate finance can be the EU’s winning card to maximize its influence at Cancun and ensure that millions of poor people around the world already affected by climate change move closer to getting the funding they desperately need to adapt and develop in a low-carbon way. If EU ministers were to play this card well, the EU could inject new momentum in time for Cancun.”

Oxfam is calling for the Global Climate Fund to better represent those who are affected most – particularly women who live on the frontline of climate change and grow more than half of the food in poor countries yet are often overlooked. The ministers, who will represent the EU in Cancun, should call for innovative financial mechanisms that raise public money, like the Robin Hood Tax and levies on international shipping and aviation, to avoid dipping into government budgets.

“The EU has led the world in tackling climate change before and should not shrink away now,” said Gore. “Progress on climate finance can put the UN talks back on track, and these environment ministers should signal to their finance ministers and to the world that the EU must show the way.  Millions of vulnerable people are still waiting for action.”

Read more

Video: Tim Gore explains what Oxfam is calling for on climate finance

Sow the seed: 3 fun, simple steps to show world leaders the importance of a fair, ambitious and binding climate deal

Download Oxfam's latest Climate Change report: Righting Two Wrongs: Making a New Global Climate Fund Work for Poor People

Cutting shipping emissions could raise billions to help fight climate change

What is the Robin Hood Tax all about?

Climate finance can be the EU’s winning card to maximize its influence at Cancun.
Tim Gore
Oxfam’s EU Policy Adviser

Notes to editors

Oxfam campaigners in Dublin, Paris, Brussels, Rome and across the UK are organizing "flashcrops" on October 14 - organic installations highlighting the need to support poor food producers fighting climate change. This is timed to remind environment ministers of the urgent need to act. For more information about the flashcrops, please contact Angela Corbalan.

Contact information

For more information, please contact Angela Corbalan + 32 2 234 11 15 / + 32 473 56 22 60 (mob) /, @AngelaCorbalan
Lucy Brinicombe, +44 (0)1865 472192 / +44(0)7786 110054 /