Poor countries need “hundreds of billions” to fight climate change

15 September, 2009 by (comments)

The World Bank says hundreds of billions of dollars is needed to help poor countries combat climate change – and industrialized countries should foot the bill.

The figures, published in today’s World Development Report 2010: Development and Climate Change, comes in the run-up to the COP15 UN climate change summit in Copenhagen in December, which will see world leaders broker deals on tackling climate change.

Colombia - Grassland fire

In the report, the bank calls for industrialized countries, whose own development was based on intensive use of fossil fuels, to help poor countries develop through more environmentally-friendly means.

The bank expects that in order to fully protect developing countries between now and 2030, US$75 billion will need to spent on climate change adaptation and protection, US$400 billion on mitigation – including work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – and hundreds of billions more each year to fund energy research and development. Increased efforts to intensifty agricultural production and protect against drought and flooding in particular, are needed.

“The countries of the world must act now, act together and act differently on climate change,” said World Bank president Robert B. Zoellick. “Developing countries are disproportionately affected by climate change – a crisis that is not of their making and for which they are the least prepared. For that reason, an equitable deal in Copenhagen is vitally important.”

For CIAT’s climate change expert Andy Jarvis, the level of investment recommended in the report is a sign that the world is waking up to the climate threat: “These are exactly the kinds of figures we need to be talking about – not millions or hundreds of millions,” he said. “Significant investment in adaptation and mitigation is essential if developing countries are going tackle climate change effectively and a large portion of this money must be spent on making agriculture more resilient – for farming to become eco-efficient.

“Of course, it’s now up to the politicians in Copenhagen to make these kinds of figures a reality.”

Andy will be attending a number of side events at COP15 in December, presenting the results of climate models and the impact of climate change on agriculture and natural resources to 2050. While the models paint a picture of a world facing dangerous changes in agricultural suitability and biodiversity distribution, they also show that serious consequences can be avoided if we act now to support and implement strategies for adaptation and mitigation.

Download the full text of World Development Report 2010 here

Check here for more on the World Development Report 2010

Check the World Bank’s climate change blog

Check the CGIAR’s climate change blog

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Filed Under: Climate Change