A Flood of Climate Change Hypocrisy

July 14, 2009

Dealing with climate change will require billions of pounds in aid monies for poorer nations. As Gordon Brown admits, £60 billion per year is a minimum commitment that rich nations should make towards mitigating the effects of climate change, which is predominantly caused by emissions in wealthier countries.

The problem is, while politicians like Brown are calling for new money to spearhead such a fight, they are also adept at spinning old money into new and leaving poor nations short changed, even as they appear to be acting virtuously in front of the “international community.”

As the Guardian’s John Vidal and David Adam pointed out yesterday, the British government has been guilty of “double counting” its climate aid to Bangladesh – one of the nations that is expected to suffer the most from climate change.

Instead of finding new money, the £60 million allocated by Dfid for climate adaptation will be found from existing aid budgets. That is, it will be part of an aid budget which already fails to reach the 0.7 percent of GDP stipulated by richer nations as a minimum amount at the UN in 1970. Moreover, almost £5 million of that will be swallowed by the World Bank bureaucracy “to cover the costs of administration, project appraisal and capacity building, as well as a management team in the bank’s office in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka.”

That’s obscene. The British government is short changing future generations of Bangladeshi children and critically compromising the ability of those now struggling with flooding to survive. The World Bank is taking a hefty cut to support its bloated ranks. The people of Bangladesh nervously await the monsoon, with many deaths likely.


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