When $100 billion just isn’t enough..

$100 billion dollars is the amount “agreed upon” in the Copenhagen accord to aid the developing world in adaptation efforts to protect themselves from the harmful effects of climate change, and mitigation initiatives to curb their carbon emissions. The prose from the accord set forth this amount as a “goal” for the world to raise each year by 2020, from “a wide variety of sources.”

As I’ve learned more intimatley while here in Cancun, that this amount is just simply not enough. In fact, it’s not even close to enough. The worrysome part of it all, is the current prose positiong the $100 billion figure as a ceiling, with no provisions to allow for a review of the amount and asses whether it’s really is enough. If anything, $100 billion should be the floor.

The following pieces of information are from studies unanimously depicting the deficiency of $100 billion in support for the developing world. Fuding to develop the capcactiy to handle the effects climate change will have on these countries in the form of decreased agricultural yeild, natrual disasters, sea level rise, etc. has to be adequate, or such problems will cause much more devistation.

  • the World Bank’s World Development Report 2010
    “The funding required for mitigation, adaptation, and technology is massive. In developing countries mitigation [alone] could cost $140 to $175 billion a year over the next 20 years (with associated financing needs of $265 to $565 billion).”

The world bank report speaks only to the estimated costs of mitigation, presumably, if one were to add adaptation and other costs, the figure would easily be more than double.

Matthew Parry, the lead scientist of the study “Assessing the Costs of Adaptation…” was the former co-chair to the IPCC Adaptation Working Group. Although his findings did not directly produce a countering figure, they concluded that the UNFCCC assessment of adaptation costs was grossly underestimated – by a factor of 2 to 3. “Using a multiplier of 2.5, the real cost would be up to $85-$165 billion dollars a year for developing countries. If we also add the adaptation costs to ecosystems that UNFCCC did not cover, the additional cost is $65-300 billion dollars.” (M. Kohr, downland the rerport here)

Although more studies on the subject have been done, clearly, research on this topic needs to continue. So what does this mean in terms of the current Cancun negotiations? As one can imagine, developing countries are finding it hard to agree to the $100 bn “ceiling.” Heck, the prolonging of the very existence of small island nations will depend on adequately funded adaptation efforts going forward.

Regardless of the outcome here in Cancun, developing countries will have to disproportionately bear the burden of climate change in the decades to come – one can only hope that those that require it get the help they need.