Big money promised to developing world at Brussels and Soros proposes even bigger investment
The European Union has pledged ₤6.5 billion (€7.2 billion or $10.5 billion U.S.) in aid to the developing world in order to deal with climate change. The aid is considered ‘fast track’ and will be delivered to poor countries over the next 3 years. The largest contribution will come from the U.K., with Prime Minister Gordon Brown promising ₤1.5 billion, followed by France and Germany, who pledged ₤1.2 billion each.
Though the multi-billion euro climate fund is welcome, such ‘fast track’ money should not be seen as a long-term solution, according to some activists:
“Short term funding is necessary but there is a risk that this will be used to greenwash an outcome which is weak and doesn’t have any structural needs-based funding. Climate change will not be beaten in three years,” Greenpeace EU campaigner Joris den Blanken said.
–AFP (source: France 24)
The London Independent reports that ‘Gordon Brown upped the British figure at the last minute from £1.2 billion to encourage bigger offers, particularly from Spain and Italy’, a move that ultimately succeeded in upping the final total. Such a short-term deal is specifically focused on climate change adaptation, rather than the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the developing world, though Brown is quoted in the Independent as saying: “That makes it possible for the poorest countries to come to the table knowing that they can mitigate carbon emissions and adapt to climate change.”
‘Cash from the fast-track fund will go towards changes to help poor countries deal with the impact of global warming, such as sea walls, hurricane defences and low-water agricultural techniques, as well as measures to reduce carbon in the atmosphere, such as protecting rainforests and cutting emissions.’
– The Independent
Meanwhile, Hungarian-American venture capitalist George Soros proposed a plan in Copenhagen to provide up to $150 billion U.S (€100 billion) to invest in clean technology in developing countries. According to a report from BBC News, ‘He says it will help developing nations halt deforestation, adapt to climate change and have low-carbon energy.’ Soros’ plan would be reinforced by gold reserves, which are ‘hidden’ by rich nations for use only in times of crisis; and according to him it would not burden poor countries with debt.
By Graham Land
The First Post – ‘How the IMF could save the world, by George Soros’