GENEVA (Reuters) - The world’s rich countries must provide some $500 to $600 billion a year as soon as possible in a green new deal to help developing nations fight global warming, the United Nations said in a survey on Tuesday.
A big, government-led investment push into cleaner energy was at the core of a strategy that would allow poor countries to grow at high rates and catch up while keeping emissions low, the UN’s World Economic and Social Survey 2009 said.
“We are talking about a new Marshall plan,” said Richard Kozul-Wright, head of the Development Policy and Analysis division at the UN department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), referring to the U.S. plan to rebuild Europe after World War Two.
“We would like to see the big investment push within the next decade,” Kozul-Wright said at a media briefing on the survey during the World Climate Conference in Geneva.
Industrialised countries had to do much more themselves to cut emissions but the developing countries had to join efforts in order to meet the challenges.
The survey noted rich countries had a responsibility to help. They still emitted 6-7 times more damaging greenhouse gases per capita then developing countries, which were much harder hit by changes such as floods or heatwaves.
The strategy to help developing countries to a low-emission, high-growth path also had to include technology transfer and more energy-related research and development, the report said.
The key, however, was quick, up-front investment in renewables, energy efficiency, transportation and forest management, Kozul-Wright said.
Advanced countries should be able to come up with the $500 to $600 billion annually -- or one percent of world gross domestic product -- to help developing countries with the big investment push given the severe threat from climate change.
“Advanced countries have come up in the last year with $11 trillion plus to make sure banking communities do not become extinct,” he said.
“If you think the extinction of species including our own is as significant as ensuring that banking communities survive than you should be able to find that scale of resources, spread out over 10, 15, 20 years,” he said.
The U.N. survey said other estimates of the costs of mitigating climate change and adapting to its consequences ran up to over $1 trillion per year, or some 2 percent of world gross domestic product, by 2030.
Given the huge financing needs, radical changes to the architecture of international financing were necessary, it said. Possible new features could include the creation of a global clean energy fund and a forest-related financing mechanism.