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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 February 2008, 16:43 GMT
Adaptation 'key to climate deal'
By Tim Hirsch
Environment reporter, Brasilia

A man fishes next to dead fish lying on dried pond bed (AP)
The commitment needs to rise significantly, says Lord Jay
The UK's former top diplomat has called for a massive increase in the amount of money available to help developing countries to adapt to climate change.

Lord Jay was speaking in Brazil, ahead of a two-day meeting of lawmakers from 13 key countries.

The Global Legislators' Organisation for a Balanced Environment conference will discuss the shape of a long-term deal to tackle global warming.

The discussions will not determine policy but they may influence it.

The aim is to show what kind of future agreement would have enough support to be politically viable.

The Globe meeting brings together 100 leading politicians from the group of eight richest economies (G8) and five key developing countries: Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa.

On the table is a document drawn up by the former head of the UK Foreign Office, Lord Jay, sketching out the key principles of a global deal on climate change which the world's leaders have pledged to negotiate by 2009, the timetable agreed at December's UN climate meeting in Bali.

Closing the gap

Speaking ahead of the Brasilia meeting, Lord Jay told the BBC News website that a vital step to encourage stronger commitments from developing countries was to tackle seriously the question of adaptation to climate change.

"There needs to be a very substantial increase in the amount of money which the industrialised world and organisations like the World Bank make available to the developing world, to enable them to adapt to the changes that climate change not only will bring about, but is already bringing about," he said.

"At the moment, the money available is in tens of millions of dollars a year, and the amount of money which according to the UN is needed is probably in the tens of billions of dollars over the years to come.

"So there is a very, very big gap to be filled, and that is a real challenge for the industrial world.

"I cannot see that there will be agreement on a meaningful emissions-reduction framework in 2009 unless as part of that there is a commitment by the industrial world to increase substantially the funds available to help developing countries to adapt to climate change."

Among the methods being considered at this meeting for helping to bridge that gap is a levy on the aviation industry, which is currently left out of the international climate change targets because its emissions cannot be attributed to individual countries.

Other proposals being discussed at the Brasilia forum are new measures to tackle illegal logging, and a global strategy on the use of biofuels.

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