The economic crisis that hit hits Europe and which continues to suffer the United States could harm further measures yet to be taken to fight against climate change.
This is at least what one must understand signals sent Tuesday by the European Union and Washington, as part of the climate of Doha conference.
The two economic powers said should not expect a new commitment on ambitious financial assistance to help the countries of the South to adapt to the impacts of climate change and to combat them. “The question of whether there will be advertisements here on new commitments is not the right question,” dropped the American negotiator, Jonathan Pershing. “Times are tough in Europe for finance, has said the European negotiator, Pete Betts. We, as well as other developed countries, will not be able to make commitments for 2015 here”.
The international community was still committed in 2009 in Copenhagen to inject more than 100 billion dollars by 2020 to help the poorest countries. Several island developing States, in particular, fear of more and more the effects of an increase in the level of the oceans, the consequences of the changes in precipitation and the multiplication of extreme weather events.
The countries present in Copenhagen had therefore agreed to pay a first instalment of 60 billion dollars by 2015. This issue is at the heart of the negotiations now taking place in Doha, the Qatar. For the time being, deplore, the coffers are always empty. In fact, only countries like the United Kingdom and the Germany made declarations on funds that they were going to spend over the next years. But it’s not necessarily new financing.
The German Secretary of State for the environment, Katherina Reiche, announced $ 1 billion ‘extra’ for the years 2013-2014. “We hope that this will help bring a bit of movement in the negotiations”, he said. Tuesday, the United Kingdom indicated that it would spend 2.8 billion dollars by 2014-2015, but NGOs criticized him of making announcements on funds already budgeted.
The France has preferred to “explain what is already done,” according to the Minister of development Pascal Canfin. He thus recalled the 2.5 billion dollars a year into the Fund through the French Development Agency and the six billion for the next three years to help, especially Africa, to develop renewable energies.
Referring to these figures, Connie Hedegaard European Commissioner assured that they proved that Europe was “serious on its financial commitments”, adding, on behalf of the European Commission, that $ 650 million should be paid the year next to the developing countries, including 260 million for Africa.
“We want to see money on the table before you go,” said nevertheless the Gambian negotiator Ousman Jarju, representing the least developed countries. This issue may “decide the success or failure” of the Doha conference, estimated Tuesday that the representative of the NGO Oxfam, Tim Gore, who warned against “tactical diversion possible” Western countries on this issue.
The Middle East and North Africa hard hit
In addition, a new World Bank report released Wednesday indicates that the countries of the Middle East and North Africa will be particularly affected by climate change. If the current trends continue, average temperatures in the Arab countries should increase the night temperature of 3 ° C by 2050, increasing by 6 ° C, according to a report released on the sidelines of the UN conference.
“The climate of the Arab countries will know unprecedented temperature extremes,” warns the report. The rain in the region, which has the lowest quantities of freshwater in the world, should be more random and more frequent flash floods. “The water will be less available and with the growth of the population, this already poor region in water may not have resources sufficient to irrigate crops, support industry, and provide drinking water,” adds the World Bank.
Agricultural production should grow less rapidly in the coming decades, and begin to decline around 2050. “It is an alarming phenomenon, because nearly half of the population in the Arab world live in the rural areas, and 40% of the jobs are related to agriculture,” the report says. Rising temperatures should also cause health problems, diseases such as malaria and dengue reaching new areas.
The World Bank therefore calls for urgent action to ensure that adaptation to climate change action plans are integrated in national policies. “The climate becoming more extreme, its impact on the life and well-being of the people will be also, warned Inger Andersen, Vice President of the Middle East and North Africa region. It is time to take measures at the national and regional level.”
Climate change has already affected or soon expected to affect most of the 340 million people in the Arab world, but the 100 million poorest will be worst affected.
With the Agency France-Presse