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Climate finance: for transformative change (?): Page 2 of 2

Posted on 10 February 2015
big techno-fixes: from deep, structural changes in socioeconomic institutions to respect for local-scale knowledge and the restoration of the global commons.  Climate change is a challenge to be dealt with at various scales. Its causes are cumulatively global, but its impacts are felt most strongly at the local level, affecting the poorest and most vulnerable.
 
Related to this, overly restrictive intellectual property rights regimes should give way to mutual sharing of environment and people-friendly technologies at the international level . This means providing the financial resources and space for scientific innovation in developing countries while preserving and promoting local knowledge before they are lost entirely. The complexity of the global environmental crisis means we can and must learn what we can from the diverse sources history and nature have accrued to us, whether that be the thousand-year-old seed-saving practices of Indian farmers or the latest solar energy techniques developed by Western scientists.
 
All climate investments should be directed toward concrete development projects and national plans of action that put people and planet first , rather than the profits of a new breed of speculative “climate investors”. Returns on these investments are secondary to the need to deliver on lasting changes that benefit people on the ground, and enable them to prosper while living in relative harmony with the environment. Skimping on climate finance commitments to developing countries on grounds of the possibility of failure or negligence is a poor excuse, when climate change is a risk far bigger than any single development project. Limiting resources urgently needed to mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis is itself a huge risk, and every second we delay is a second lost to the possibility of keeping global warming within manageable limits.
 
The success of our collective efforts should be measured more by their ability to uplift lives, and less by their cost efficiency.
 
Similarly, public control over climate finance is paramount. Country ownership over climate-related investments is not the prerogative of developing country governments alone. People on the frontlines of climate change must be allowed to take part in decision-making over the financing of adaptation and mitigation initiatives in the global south. Transparency and accountability are a key part of that.
 
Crucially, while government negotiators stress the need to “balance” responsibility and financial commitments in the climate regime, what is lacking is the clear will on the part of elites and governments, both north and south, to shift away from economic practices that are environmentally and socially damaging, and are at the crux of the world’s dependence on fossil fuels.
 
There is, in addition, a need to better align donor efforts along a coherent and universally agreed set of principles for climate finance.
 
It is our hope that these demands will be met in Paris, and it will be a test of the commitment and political will of countries, north and south, to a genuinely transformative climate finance agenda.
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