The announcement made today that Australia will contribute $150 million in climate finance to support vulnerable communities battling the climate crisis is welcomed, but falls far short of our responsible contribution as a rich polluting country.
Most notably, we are disappointed that Australia has not pledged to the newly established Loss and Damage Fund, and urge the Australian government to commit to an initial $100 million to support the fund to become operational.
A foundational $100 million to the Pacific Resilience Facility (PRF) and $50 million to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) is a welcome contribution to these important funds. However, this does not go far enough to help impacted countries, both in the Pacific and beyond, to adapt to climate change and climate induced loss and damage, the costs of which are now hundreds of billions annually.
Oxfam Australia Climate Justice Lead Melissa Bungcaras said there is a disturbing mismatch between the funding required to respond to climate change in low-income countries and what is being provided by developed countries, including Australia.
“After 32 years of pressure and 27 COPs, we finally have a new landmark Loss and Damage Fund. It is disheartening that despite Australia having played a constructive role in the establishment of the Fund, they are now refusing to provide the necessary funds to get it started,” said Ms Bungcaras.
“In the face of devastating storms, floods, droughts, and wildfires costing hundreds of billions globally each year, we need to step up action. Rich polluting nations like Australia need to rapidly phase out fossil fuels and provide adequate climate finance to frontline communities so they can adapt to the impacts of climate change, and be compensated for losses and damages they’ve incurred.
“While we warmly welcome the funding for the Pacific Resilience Facility, we desperately need new and increased funds to meet the escalating costs of climate change and ensure people don’t slide deeper into poverty,” she said.
Oxfam Australia stands by its call for Australia to make an initial $100 million pledge to the Loss and Damage Fund.
Notes to editor
The Loss and Damage Fund was established on 30 November as one of the first actions of COP28. The Fund is critical in supporting communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis to recover and rebuild after climate disasters.
Loss and damage funding needs for low-income countries are estimated at USD 400 billion a year. So far commitments fall well short of the need.
The most recent reports from the Australian Government indicate that Australia is on track to provide $3 billion in international climate finance between 2020-2025. This is an $1 billion increase from the initial commitment of $2 billion for the same period. However, it falls well short of Australia’s fair share of the global climate finance target of USD 100 billion per year in mitigation and adaptation funding, which is $4 billion annually. Further, this funding is within the existing aid budget and is not new and additional funds, which are required to meet the challenges of the climate crisis and sustainable development needs of low-income countries.
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