In the following letter, Dennis Howlett, National Coordinator of Make Poverty History, is alerting us as concerned Canadians that it’s time to take action on poverty and climate change:
“A billion dollar Canadian bill? Take a closer look and you will notice that although it bears a slight resemblance to our $5 bill, this $1 Billion Climate Cash bill illustrates what could happen to our iconic Canadian winter scenes if we don’t take action on climate change. It also draws attention to the $1 Billion that is now being wasted on subsidies to the fossil fuel industry as well as the $1 Billion that is needed to help poor countries cope with climate change.
A key issue that must be resolved at the United Nations Climate Change Conference that will take place in Cancun, Mexico next week is how developed countries will deliver on the promise made last year in Copenhagen to fund climate change adaptation and mitigation in low income countries. As the ones who are responsible for most of the extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that is causing climate change, it is only fair that developed countries like Canada help low income countries cope with the costly impacts of climate change such as rising sea levels, changes to the growing conditions for farmers and more frequent and severe weather events.
Agreement on how developed countries will come up with the $100 billion a year that is needed will not be easy to achieve. The global economic crisis has caused ballooning deficits in many developed countries, constraining their ability to deliver the funding that was promised last year in Copenhagen.
But there are solutions that would not only deliver on these funding commitments but would also provide several other positive benefits as well.
Canada and other developed countries can:
- End subsidies to fossil fuels and re-direct this money to funding climate change mitigation and adaptation in low income countries as well as investments in green energy. This would not only free up money that could be better spent, it would help to lower greenhouse gas emissions as well. It is estimated that Canada currently gives about $1 billion each year to subsidise the fossil fuel industry.
- Adopt a Financial Transaction Tax (also known as the Robin Hood Tax). A 0.05% tax on speculative trading could raise hundreds of billions of dollars each year for helping poor countries cope with climate change as well as fund poverty reduction programs. The FTT would have the added benefit of discouraging speculative trading, one of the causes of the global financial crisis.
Help make progress on climate change at the Cancun conference by sending a message now to Prime Minister Harper. Ask him to keep promises to help poor countries cope with climate change and to end subsidies to the fossil fuel industry.
Make Poverty History”
Make Poverty History
39 McArthur Avenue
Ottawa ON K1L 8L7