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Finance ministers dodge responsibility in climate cash decision.
 29.03.2009 23:54:47
Finance ministers dodge responsibility in climate cash decision

Brussels, 10 March European Finance Ministers failed to lay hard cash on the table today to support decarbonising economies in developing countries and to compensate for coping with the consequences of climate change [1].

Carbon offsetting schemes, such as the Clean Development Mechanism, have been put forward as mechanisms to tackle climate change and encourage financial flows to the global South. Friends of the Earth Europe believes that they are a loophole for industrialised countries to avoid making necessary emission cuts at home.

Finance ministers meeting today at the Economic and Financial Affairs Council in Brussels have dodged responsibility for providing developing countries with the funds they will need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and respond to the already existing impacts of climate change. Taking into account the historical responsibility of the EU countries for producing emissions, and their capacity to pay, the EUs fair share of the bill is of at least Euro 35 billion per year.

Esther Bollendorff, climate campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe, said: At a time when we are facing the most severe economic crisis of the last 50 years, the EU cannot afford to make poorly thought out and selfish financial choices, bailing out the car industry and bankrupt bankers. The EU has a moral and historical obligation to help the developing world tackle climate change, a problem that Europeans helped to create. The EU has to pay its fair share estimated to be at least Euro 35 billion per year

Finance ministers have also endorsed the role of the Clean Development Mechanism as an important tool to deliver substantial financial flows from the EU to developing countries, and as a way to engage developing countries in the carbon trading market. The Clean Development Mechanism has however led to well-documented negative impacts on communities and the environment in the global South [2]. The Clean Development Mechanism is inherently unfair and is based on the failure of industrialised countries to achieve necessary emissions reduction targets at home, said Bollendorff. She added: EU leaders have to acknowledge that the ability to buy credits abroad will not provide any incentive for European economies to develop the technologies needed for much steeper emission cuts.

Friends of the Earth Europe ask that the EU commit to 40% cuts in domestic greenhouse gas emissions by 2020[3]. The current target of 20% gives no significant chance to stay below a 2 degree temperature increase and includes unacceptably high levels of external credits.


For more information, please contact:

Esther Bollendorff, climate campaigner of the Friends of the Earth Europe: Tel: +32 2542 6102 and +32 484 564680 (Belgian mobile),



[1] Failing to agree on the EUs fair share needed to finance adaptation and mitigation in developing countries, Environment Ministers forwarded this decision last week to todays ECOFIN Council and ultimately to the Heads of State meeting next week on the 19th and 20th.

[2] Is the CDM fulfilling its environmental and sustainable development objectives?

[3] In March 2007 the EU agreed to cut its emissions by 20% by 2020 in case there is not international agreement and by 30% by 2020 if other countries agree to take on similar reduction objectives.


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