Wed, Mar 12, 2014 - Page 6 News List

Bangladesh warns cost of dealing with climate shifts rising

The Guardian

Bangladesh needs US$5 billion over the next five years to adapt to current climate changes, and the cost is rising each year, according to a lead negotiator for developing countries in the UN climate talks, which resumed in Bonn on Monday.

It, and other developing countries, may have been promised US$30 billion as “fast-start finance” before US$100 billion a year is theoretically mobilized for developing countries in 2020, but the global recession and reluctance by rich countries to match their pledges with money has led to a loss of trust in the talks.

“So far Bangladesh has received US$200 million from the fast-start finance, half of which has come from Britain. We had hoped for much more,” Bangladeshi climate envoy to the UN Quamrul Choudhury said.

The injustice of the poorest countries having to spend heavily to adapt to climate change, which they historically barely contributed toward, is a deep wound in the long-running talks, the next stage of which will finish in Peru with a head-of-state-level meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in September. It has led to a breakdown of trust between countries.

Yet Choudhury is hopeful that countries will negotiate a binding global treaty in Paris next year.

“I am optimistic. China is in a positive mood. The UK, France, Germany, Denmark and Sweden are pushing the EU to raise their ambition. [US President Barack] Obama is more positive; I think he will take a leadership role. There is much more awareness now in the talks,” Choudhury said.

Yet he warns that the cost of adaptation is high — and mounting quickly.

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