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


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?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Manager (retail, upgrades, rollouts)

£40000 - £45000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Project...

Technical Project Manager - Software and Infrastructure - Government Experience

£400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Central Lon...

Secondary teachers needed for supply roles in Sudbury

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Supply teachers requi...

Head of Technology

Negotiable: Randstad Education Reading: Head of Technology needed for a Outsta...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A homeless person sleeps in the streets  

This is why I am sleeping rough outside the party conferences

Max J Freeman
Strikes were carried out by manned air force and navy aircraft (File photo)  

Syria air strikes: President Assad now has the enemy he always wanted – Islamist terrorism

Kim Sengupta
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits