What’s more, the charity argues that the structure of the Kyoto Protocol’s ‘flexible mechanisms’ will perpetuate the current imbalance which sees the developed world contributing the vast majority of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – 80% – and the developing world being hit with the majority of the climate change-related disasters – 96% of deaths from natural disasters occur in developing countries.

Unnatural Disasters identifies climate change as one of the biggest challenges facing both the developing world and the aid agencies that serve it. “Nine of the past 11 disasters to which we have responded have been caused by extreme weather conditions,” said Malcolm Rodgers, Christian Aid’s head of policy. “Country after country is being decimated by these so-called natural disasters. Christian Aid and other development agencies are caught in the middle delivering relief aid. The terrible irony is that the poorest countries are suffering and we believe this is because of pollution by the wealthiest.”

Christian Aid is calling on developed world countries to use their overseas development budgets to fund disaster planning, pointing out that projections on climate change and population migration lead to the prediction that ¾ of the developing world will be at risk from droughts or floods by 2020.

The charity also criticises the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Joint Implementation (JI) schemes for delaying reductions of GHGs emitted by the developed world (see related story). The CDM, for example, will allow developed countries to earn emission credits for funding projects in the developing world that promote ‘cleaner’ technology – but Christian Aid wants emission reductions to happen in the developed world, where the majority of GHG emissions originate:

  • 45% of global CO2 emissions come from the G8 countries
  • the world’s poorest countries account for only 0.4% of CO2 emissions
  • India emits 4.2% of global CO2, despite being home to 17% of the world’s population
  • the UK emits 9.5 tonnes of CO2 per person, whereas Honduras emits 0.7

Despite Kyoto’s faults, Christian Aid is calling for early ratification and refers to Munich Reinsurance’s announcement last year that the cost of natural disasters are now projected to be higher than prevention.

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie