Sharing the burden of financing adaptation to climate change
As global impacts of climate change become observable and more serious, and given that a large part of the impacts will be experienced in less developed countries and regions, the issue of international financing of adaptation to climate change impacts has become more urgent. Adaptation has the potential for ameliorating, though not reducing to zero, the damages that could be caused by climate change now and in the future. This paper sets out a conceptual framework for allocating responsibilities for international financing of adaptation related to climate change, based on the historical contribution of different countries to climate change and their capacity to pay for the costs of adaptation internationally.
Climate change may cause most harm to countries that have historically contributed the least to greenhouse gas emissions and land-use change. This paper identifies consequentialist and non-consequentialist ethical principles to guide a fair international burden-sharing scheme of climate change adaptation costs. We use these ethical principles to derive political principles – historical responsibility and capacity to pay – that can be applied in assigning a share of the financial burden to individual countries. We then propose a hybrid ‘common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities’ approach as a promising starting point for international negotiations on the design of burden-sharing schemes.
A numerical assessment of seven scenarios shows that the countries of Annex I of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change would bear the bulk of the costs of adaptation, but contributions differ substantially subject to the choice of a capacity to pay indicator. The contributions are less sensitive to choices related to responsibility calculations, apart from those associated with land-use-related emissions. Assuming costs of climate adaptation of USD 100 billion per year, the total financial contribution by the Annex I countries would be in the range of USD 65–70 billion per year. Expressed as a per capita basis, this gives a range of USD 43–82 per capita per year.
|Author(s)||Dellink R ; Elzen M den ; Aiking H ; Bergsma E ; Berkhout F ; Dekker T ; Gupta J|
|Publication||Global Environ Change 2009; 19:411-21|