20090910 eu climate 18
EU commissioner for Environment, Stavros Dimas, holds a press conference at the EU headquarters in Brussels to propose billions in global aid for poor nations to fight global warming. - 


Kai Ryssdal: As long as we're talking big dollar amounts, here's one from the European Union. Today the EU offered developing countries as much as $22 billion a year between now and 2020. In part to help them fight the effects of global warming. In part to persuade them to sign on to a big U.N. climate change treaty this December. Ashley Milne-Tyte reports.

ASHLEY MILNE-TYTE: The offer's not good enough. That's according to Tim Gore, EU policy advisor for Oxfam International. He's glad the EU made the first offer of aid. But he says those euros amount to a pittance.

TIM GORE: The 2 billion would be ridiculous. The 15 billion is about half or just under half what we think is needed.

The money the EU is talking about translates into a maximum of $22 billion a year through 2020. Gore says when it comes to fighting climate change, the EU expects poorer nations to pay for most of that themselves. He says there's more money available to help countries adapt.

GORE: And it's desperately needed for things like investment in climate resistant crops or early warning systems for flooding in areas which are particularly vulnerable to floods.

Gore says the current EU offer would fund early warning systems. But it wouldn't be enough to lift villages above flood plains before disaster strikes. That preserves livelihoods. Harvard economist Rob Stavins says don't expect other rich countries to help out much.

ROB STAVINS: The political will is not going to be there I can say for sure from the United States, from the U.S. Congress to be making massive direct transfers.

He says wealthier countries are happy to facilitate direct, private investment. But poorer nations say if they're going to commit to a new climate-change treaty, they want upfront cash from the countries they say caused the problem in the first place.

I'm Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace.