UN CLIMATE chief Yvo de Boer called on finance ministers meeting here on Tuesday to provide the monetary muscle to tackle Earth's global-warming crisis. Finance ministers or their representatives are holding first-of-a-kind talks on climate change in parallel to a worldwide gathering that aims to deepen action against the peril from greenhouse gases.
“Designing a long-term solution to climate change is mainly a challenge of intelligent financial engineering,” said Yvo de Boer, head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which is organising the December 3-14 Bali talks.
“It is the environment ministers who set the goals in this process, but it's the finance and economics ministers who have to get us to those goals,” he told AFP before addressing the finance chiefs. “I think that there's an opportunity here for finance ministers, by coming to grips with this issue, to turn it into an opportunity for clean economic growth rather than a threat,” he said.
The two-day talks among financial representatives from 37 countries began on Monday, preceded by a weekend meeting of trade ministers.
It is the first time that ministers from the trade and finance arenas have attended the annual UNFCCC meeting, a development that reflects how climate change has amplified from being a purely environmental issue.
Environment ministers meet in Bali for three days from Wednesday to climax the overall UNFCCC talks, which aim to set a “roadmap” for action beyond 2012, when the current pledges of the Kyoto Protocol run out.
According to the UN's Nobel-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), global average surface temperatures could rise by between 1.1 C and 6.4 C (1.98 and 11.52 F) by 2100 compared to 1980-99 levels.
Drought, floods, storms and rising sea levels are among the amplifying risks that the world faces. To limit the overall rise in warming since pre-industrial times to 2.0-2.8 C (3.6-5.0 F) will cost less than 0.12% of annual world GDP growth by 2030, says the IPCC.
Among the tools open to policymakers are tougher energy-efficiency standards, taxes on fossil fuels that are the big drivers of global warming and cap-and-trade systems on greenhouse-gas emissions as well as measures to encourage clean technology.
Such measures run into resistance given their potential financial cost and their challenge to established interests