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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Debate on Arrangements for Adaptation Financing Continues

The race to get the Adaptation Fund Board (AFB) up and running by early 2009 is on. The AFB, currently administered by the World Bank, was created to provide funding for adaptation through the sales of carbon credits from the Clean Development Mechanism. In Poznan, Tuvalu submitted a proposal to grant the AFB its own legal status, but it remains to be seen whether other nations will accept this proposal.

The urgency of building a robust funding mechanism for adaptation is underpinned by frequent UN estimates of the costs of adaptation, the latest estimate being $130 billion per year by 2030 (put forth by Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, Yvo de Boer). However, it is unclear the extent to which such estimates represent the costs of adaptation to climate change versus the costs of achieving UN development goals. If the latter, then climate adaptation simply becomes another vehicle for securing traditional overseas development assistance (ODA). Given the failure of many developed nations (such as the US) to fulfill their existing obligations with respect to ODA, it is difficult to find fault with attempts to hitch the development wagon to climate change. In any case, with current funding for the AFB sitting at only $21 billion, it would seem that the institution is inadequate for any of the tasks with which it is charged.

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