Monday 9 December 2019

Ireland is told to stump up more cash to help developing nations cope with climate change

Typhoon Haiyan that hit the Philippines in 2015 was the strongest on record and caused €10bn of damage. Photo: Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images
Typhoon Haiyan that hit the Philippines in 2015 was the strongest on record and caused €10bn of damage. Photo: Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images

Caroline O'Doherty

Ireland is not paying its fair share to help developing countries deal with the impact of climate change caused by wealthy nations, aid agencies say.

They say Ireland's contribution to an international fund would need to increase six-fold before we came close to making amends for the damage caused.

In a report to be published today, Trócaire and Christian Aid Ireland argue that Ireland's €80m annual donation needs to increase to €475m.

They also say the money should be additional funding and not sums taken from general overseas aid and recategorised as climate finance. Our overseas aid budget for 2020 is €837m.

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The report is published as governments begin gathering in Madrid today for the UN climate summit COP25, which runs until Friday week.

Climate finance will form a major part of the discussion, with agencies such as Trocaire and Christian Aid Ireland pointing to various studies that show the $100bn (€91bn) a year fund established in 2010 to help poor countries protect against climate change and deal with the consequences needs to increase to at least $750bn (€680bn).

Cliona Sharkey of Trócaire said poorer nations were least responsible for the climate crisis and should not have to pick up the bill for the damage on their own.

The G20 - the world's wealthiest countries - is responsible for 78pc of global carbon emissions yet it is estimated that developing countries face 75pc of the cost. Ireland is responsible for 0.26pc of global emissions.

Jenny Higgins of Christian Aid Ireland said: "Unless Ireland and other developed countries step up and fairly contribute financially, developing countries will never be able to afford to deal with the very real consequences of climate change, nor reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions levels."

Extreme weather linked to climate change has devastated many poor countries in ways wealthy countries can better withstand.

Typhoon Haiyan that hit the Philippines in 2015 was the strongest on record and caused €10bn of damage.

The report is critical of the way wealthy nations make climate finance available - too often through loans that create the risk of spiralling debt, or through overly restrictive insurance packages.

Malawi, one of the world's poorest countries, suffered alternating drought and flood but when it tried to claim on the African Risk Capacity insurance fund for a particular episode, the payout covered less than half the cost.

The report praises Ireland for avoiding loan mechanisms in its own aid packages but says the country must do more to influence others.

"Ireland has been invisible on the issue of loss and damage, one of the most pressing issues for the most vulnerable countries," it said.

Irish Independent

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