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Don’t break promises, help the poorest fight climate change – WWF tells G8 finance chiefs

The G8 must stick to its past financial commitments to help the world’s Least Developed Countries (LDCs) address the disastrous impacts of climate change, WWF said ahead of a meeting of the group’s finance ministers.

Over the past few years more than 40 of the least developed countries have written national plans for their adaptation to climate change but despite promises from developed countries none of these plans are being implemented.

The level of funding needed is about US$ 2 billion but so far less than 200 million have been paid in, and none has actually paid out.

“Irreversible climate change is already affecting people’s lives. Promises made to the most vulnerable and poorest must be kept,” Kim Carstensen, the leader of WWF’s Climate Initiative said.

“The rich world has to prove that its pledges to help were not just empty words.”

Providing immediate funding to Least Developed Countries is important, but at the same time it is urgent that the Finance Ministers acknowledge that their long-term obligation is even bigger.

“The G8 meeting is the perfect opportunity for finance ministers to show that they have realized the gravity of the climate challenge and the true potential cost of global inaction against climate change,” said Kim Carstensen.

“Finance ministers need to begin seeing things from a long-term perspective, where serious action on climate change is in fact the cheap way out. Inaction will be far more expensive. Finance ministers have to acknowledge their responsibility and find ways to mobilize the resources needed to stop the worst impacts of climate change in the future.”

WWF believes developed countries need to provide new and additional financial resources for adaptation and mitigation of at least US$ 150 billion per year, beyond overseas development assistance commitments.

The meeting of G-8 finance ministers Friday and Saturday in the southern Italian city of Lecce will include officials from the U.S., Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Canada and Russia, and will set the agenda for a meeting of G-8 national leaders in July in L'Aquila outside Rome.

WWF Climate Experts:

Kim Carstensen, Leader of WWF Global Climate Initiative, E: k.carstensen@wwf.dk , Ph: +45 35 24 78 60, Mob: +45 40 34 36 35;