.. with an assist from Ur-Nammu of Sumer.
At Copenhagen in 2009, rich countries committed rather vaguely to putting up $100 billion a year from 2020 in long-term financing for climate mitigation and adaptation. The centrepiece of this effort was supposed to be the Green Climate Fund. So far they have pledged $10.2 bn to it. In other words, they have reneged. The future agreement in Paris will be based on “national contributions”, plans which may be contingent on finance. In advance of Paris, countries agreed in Lima to submit trial balloons, “intended national contributions”, INDCs in the insider jargon. Will the rich – us – finally cough up?
Instead of gloomy speculation, let’s try and make the question more concrete by looking at a sample country, Ethiopia. I pick it because it’s already submitted its INDC: not too long, and quite readable. French expert Bernard Chabot has analysed it for us (h/t Craig Morris). We can also rely on a recent World Bank country report.
- Ethiopia is populous (99 m) and poor. In 2012, PPP income per head was $1,086 (2005 $). But it is fast growing (10.7% a year over the last decade), and quite well-run, with single-digit inflation, affordable levels of external debt, and no fossil fuel subsidies. Politically it is a stable, de facto one-party state with rigged elections. So it’s better than most. If we don’t help Ethiopia, we won’t help anybody other than Costa Rica.
- Carbon emissions are low: 1.8 tonne CO2e per head against 17.5 tonnes for the USA. Of this, 87% is generated in the countryside, from wood-burning, deforestation, crops and livestock.
- Most of the population (76%) has no access to electricity. What there is is almost entirely renewable hydro already.
The government’s climate plan is nevertheless ambitious, and consistent with the global 2 degree C cap, which is more than can be said for the main polluters. Continue Reading…