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21.11.2008 General News

Oxfam says rich countries endangering the world


A research report by international aid agency Oxfam, said on Friday that rich countries' failure to cut down their emissions since 1992 had put the world at high risk of exceeding catastrophic two degrees Celsius warming, which will cause widespread violation of rights that are enshrined in the Universal Declaration.

It said rich countries' excessive carbon emission was violating the rights of millions of the world's poorest people affecting life, security, food, health and shelter.

"Adaptation financing is being woefully under-resourced and $2 billion would be needed just to meet the most urgent and immediate adaptation needs of the 50 least developed countries but total contributions to that end now stand at just $93 million less than what people in the United States spend buying sun-tan lotion in a month."

It noted that rich countries were failing to deliver sufficient finance and technology to help poor countries shift to low-carbon pathways and realize their right to development.

Kate Raworth, Senior Researcher at Oxfam, who conducted the research, said vulnerable countries needed options to protect themselves.

She said rich countries polluters had been fully aware of their culpability for many years and if they failed to cut emission and help people now, they could face legal actions later.

"When vulnerable communities have tried to use human rights law for climate justice, it has thrown up major weakness," she said.

"It is extremely difficult for people in poor countries to identify who to sue, how to prove the injury done, or even where to bring their case."

She urged lawyers to press on towards having international courts to recognise future injury and joint liability for climate change damage, existing human rights principles which will sufficiently guide rich countries on policies to cut down their emissions and finance adaptation.

Source: GNA