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Avinash Persaud

Climate love

Countries are drowning’: climate expert calls for urgent rethink on scale of aid for developing world

The world must rethink its approach to the climate crisis, by investing trillions of dollars instead of billions in the developing world, and moving beyond conventional ideas of overseas aid, one of the world’s most influential climate economists has urged. “We need a complete rethink of the whole nexus of climate, debt and development,” Avinash Persaud told the Observer, before a key summit. “What we are seeing today is new – countries affected by climate disaster, this is happening now. Countries are drowning.” He called for a tripling of the finance available from the World Bank and similar institutions, and a huge influx of cash from the private sector, driven by the careful use of public funds and regulation to remove the current barriers to investment. “This is the biggest financial opportunity in the world,” he said. Persaud is economic adviser to Mia Mottley, the prime minister of Barbados, who is co-hosting a meeting of world leaders this week with French president Emmanuel Macron. More than 50 heads of state and government are expected to attend the summit in Paris this Thursday and Friday, including Lula da Silva of Brazil, Germany’s Olaf Scholtz and the Chinese premier Li Qiang. Rishi Sunak is likely to snub the conference. Joe Biden is sending his climate envoy, John Kerry. In Paris, Mottley and Persaud will set out the “Bridgetown agenda”, named after the Barbados capital where it was first mooted last year. They will call for debt relief for some of the poorest nations facing climate catastrophe, a tripling of funding from the world’s multilateral development banks, including the World Bank, and new taxes to fund climate action, including, potentially, a levy on shipping. They will also call for reforms to the way the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and other institutions operate, to make it easier for them to “de-risk” private sector investment in developing countries, such as by providing guarantees or long-term loans. “The private sector has to be involved,” Persaud said. “The numbers needed would swamp developing countries’ balance sheets, but private companies can do it.” Persaud values pragmatism above ideals, and above traditional economic thinking. “If you ask economists for ideas, they will come up with an infinite number of ideas that are clever, elegant – and completely impractical,” he said.fb-messenger://share?link=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theguardian.com%2Fenvironment%2F2023%2Fjun%2F18%2Fcountries-are-drowning-climate-expert-calls-for-urgent-rethink-on-scale-of-aid-for-developing-world%3FCMP%3Dshare_btn_me&app_id=180444840287

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  • walter lungayi

    52 w

    Indeed we need a complete rethink of the whole nexus of climate, debt and development

    5
    • Kevin

      52 w

      Such are the conversations that need to see the light of day

      3
      • Sarah kimotho

        53 w

        Great talks

        5
        • Harrison wambui

          53 w

          Very nice

          4
          • rosebellendiritu

            53 w

            If permanent solution is not sort,we will continue with the effects of these crisis,it should also be a collective responsibility

            11
            • Mc Kaka

              53 w

              Kenya ASAL community is going through a lot of long prolonged drought and very short and heavy rains, loss and damage has increased by 55% from the previous 21%, action is needed!

              5
              • Joyce Waturu

                53 w

                Truly there's need to have a change of tact in addressing the climate crisis. It's said that desperate times call for desperate measures and so different approaches are called for in the wake of the climate change adversities.

                5
                • Joseph Githinji

                  53 w

                  Great to see this conversation taking this shape, it's my hope that the resolution of this meeting are going to solve funding problems for the developing nations.

                  14
                Welcome, let's solve the climate crisis together
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