False fast start

9 December 2009

horse sprinting track

Never has ECO seen such enthusiasm from industrialised countries (especially the umbrellas), on the LCA plenary floor, to get out of the starting blocks and support developing countries to take climate action with ‘fast start’ finance. Such eagerness to move down the track got ECO very excited.

But on closer inspection, our excitement was dashed. ECO looked again and saw that the track drops off a cliff after a few metres.

Climate finance certainly needs to get moving fast, and ‘fast start’ finance sounds very stirring and athletic. But this is not just a race for sprinters, it’s a marathon!

In 2007, the Bali Action Plan (BAP) endorsed by all Parties launched a comprehensive process “to enable the full, effective and sustained implementation of the Convention through long-term cooperative action, now, up to and beyond 2012.” According to the BAP there is no funding now without funding later.

As December 18 draws ever closer, ECO knows world leaders must leave Copenhagen prepared to run with something more than fast start finance. And it now seems clear that industrialised countries are thinking of taking shortcuts across the track by using already committed aid money for climate finance, taking a deeper bite into precarious aid budgets.

ECO warns industrialised country leaders that repackaged aid is not, and will not be a substitute for predictable, additional and adequate finance over both the near and long run.

To avoid a false start here in Copenhagen, kick start finance must be accompanied by a legally binding agreement on the scale, sources, governance and additionality of long-term finance. And the finish line must be at $195 billion a year to stay below 2˚C. Otherwise, those industrialised country leaders should get ready to run for the warming hills.

Photo courtesy of Kanagen

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