January 18, 2011

Scriptoria Blog

Aussies keep climate-change promises

Here at Scriptoria, we sometimes pull our hair out in frustration.Climate change is the most urgent issue of our age, yet some nations that have allowed themselves to be hijacked by self-interest and ignorance block progress on tackling it.

Like many in international development, we welcomed the outcome of the Cancun summit on climate change in December (see this recent blog), but only in the same way as a man welcomes catching a cold rather than flu - neither is pleasant, but one is a bit less worse than the other.

At least, many of the countries in favour of international agreement on climate change are demonstrating their commitment while the big boys, China and the US, stand aloof.

One such is Australia, which has just started releasing A$236m (about the same in US$) of the A$599m it promised to help mitigate and adapt to climate change last summer (see the AusAID website).

The Aussies call it fast-start funding because it supports immediate action. The lion’s share (A$169m) goes to help countries in the Pacific, South East Asia, Africa and South Asia gain a better understanding of the likely impacts of climate change.

Another A$32m goes towards International Forest Carbon Initiative activities for reducing emissions from reducing deforestations and forest degradation (REDD+) in Indonesia and other countries.

Australia isn’t the only country making such commitments, but we like their up-and-at-‘em style. Typical Aussies.

Photo: AusAID/Josh Estey

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