12 May 2010
Climate aid ‘insulting and self-interested’ says aid watchdog
AusAID’s budget statement, ‘Agency Resources and Planned Performance’, released last night, announces government spending on overseas aid to help developing countries adapt to the impacts of climate change and to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. AID/WATCH, the overseas aid monitor, has condemned the measures as inadequate and misleading.
Aid to help developing countries adapt to climate changes is set at $119 million in 2010-11, and $159 million in 2011-12. This includes the bilateral International Climate Change Adaptation Initiative, $78.6 million 2010-11, and funds for multilateral institutions, mainly for adaptation, at $40.6m 2010-11.
AID/WATCH spokesperson, Dr James Goodman, said, ‘This is an insult to the people who are now bearing the brunt of climate change. In its ‘Economics of Adaptation to Climate Change Study’ published last year the World Bank estimated that $75-100 billion is needed annually from 2010 to help developing countries adapt to the effects of climate change. Australia’s contribution of $119 million next year is 0.0016% of the minimum $75 billion that the World Bank says is needed.’
Aid to help developing countries reduce greenhouse gas emissions is set at $33 million in 2010-11, rising to $38m in 2011-12. The bulk of this, $28 million, is for the bilateral International Forest Carbon Initiative (the remainder is for bilateral Climate Change Partnerships). A recent research report by AID/WATCH finds that the Forest Carbon Initiative is driven by Australian Government self-interest.
Dr Goodman said, ‘The Department of Climate Change describes the International Forest Carbon Initiative as a negotiating ploy. Its sole purpose is to persuade the UN that Australia can offset its emissions with reduced deforestation in places like Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. This is not genuine overseas aid, it is aid for diplomacy.’
Dr Goodman added, ‘Australia’s climate aid is double counted. The funds are announced as overseas aid, but they also form part of Australia’s contribution under the Kyoto Agreement, as submitted to the UN in February this year. The UN says there should be no double counting. So do we.’
AID/WATCH is investigating the possibility of lodging a formal complaint on the matter with the UN.
For further information, contact Dr James Goodman, AID/WATCH 0414 990 837