Tony Juniper: We needed promises of hard cash. All we got was a fudge

Analysis

Share
Related Topics

The EU summit yesterday managed to fudge a deal on climate change finance. There was no mention of what the EU will be prepared to pay, and without numbers one is left wondering how much progress has been made since the original Framework Convention on Climate Change was thrashed out in Rio de Janeiro more than 17 years ago.

That treaty stated: "The developed country Parties... shall provide new and additional financial resources to meet the agreed full costs incurred by developing country Parties in complying with their obligations". This commitment was made in relation to adaptation and the low-carbon technology transfer that would enable developing countries to "leap frog" the dirtiest phases of development. The trouble is, it hasn't happened.

The reluctance of EU countries this week to make a clear commitment on the subject of climate change finance before the Copenhagen climate change summit provides yet another example of the disastrous political short-termism and self-interest which has dogged the climate change finance issue for nearly two decades.

It is instructive to note the contrast between the way in which EU leaders leapt to the defence of the financial system last year, and their response to the challenge we face now in securing a fair and effective climate change treaty. Last year they opened their cheque books on our behalf without even blinking. This week the danger is far more profound. It's about the survival of human civilisations – yet the leadership has evaporated.

Each country that has expressed reluctance to talk numbers has its own reasons for not acting decisively. Some say it's better to wait until Copenhagen before setting out the EU's specific negotiating stance. But if the EU cannot agree a common position based on what it is prepared to pay at one of its own summits, do European leaders really believe they will be in any better position to form a clear collective position when they arrive in Copenhagen?

The propensity for crisis management and delaying leadership in the face of an existing threat does not work for climate change. While it was possible to bail out the banks, creating stability in the Earth's climate system will not be so straightforward. This crisis must be dealt with before it happens. The climate science tells us that we are now at the last tick of the clock. The risks that some EU countries are prepared to take as we approach what could be our last chance to avoid catastrophe not only betray a short-term mentality, they are illogical, immoral and ill-informed. Vague statements of intent are not enough. It's time to stump up the cash.

Tony Juniper is an author, environmental campaigner and sustainability adviser

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office / Sales Manager

£22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established and expanding South...

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Syria's Kurds have little choice but to flee amid the desolution, ruins and danger they face

Patrick Cockburn
A bartender serves two Mojito cocktails  

For the twenty-somethings of today, growing up is hard to do

Simon Kelner
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones