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Rally seeks climate funding

The National Climate Change Network gathered in Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park yesterday to urge developed countries to contribute more funds to the fight against climate change,
More than 100 members of the NCCN, a group of 52 civil society groups, asked developed nations to solidify a long-term financing contract that would contribute billions of dollars to help developing nations like Cambodia adapt to the effects of climate change.

At a conference in Copenhagen last year, some of the world’s biggest economies said that US$100 billion would be pledged to developing countries on an annual basis by 2020, though no contract was formalised.

A group of 22 delegates from Cambodia, across several government ministries, joined a new round of climate talks that started yesterday in Cancun, Mexico, where financing will be on the agenda. Nearly two weeks ago, Cambodian officials demanded that developed countries allocate 1.5 percent of their GDPs annually towards funding for climate change adaptation.

Ponlok Pin, deputy director general of climate change at the Ministry of Environment, says he doubts this international dialogue will bring about any significant changes.

“I don’t think that there will be any breakthrough,” said Ponlok Pin. “This is understandable, taking into account this problem, which is multi-faceted.”

Ponlok Pin said that climate change financing was the responsibility of industrialised nations.

“For some countries, moving to climate-friendly technologies and energy requires a lot of investment and the support of the public,” he said.

The demonstration was also attended by nearly 20 rural farmers, including Ree Phalin, a 23-year-old vegetable farmer from Kampong Thom province, who suggested that climate change might be responsible for erratic weather patterns, and that farmers bear the brunt of this.

“Over the past few years, it’s been getting drier and drier and tougher to produce vegetables,” she said. “The water has become very warm, which doesn’t help the fish populations.”

The United Nations conference will attempt to extend the current Kyoto Protocol, which limits carbon emissions from all industrialised countries, except the United States.

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