Austria Plans to Increase Climate Aid

PeopleOther ♦ Published: November 9, 2022; 23:24 ♦ (Vindobona)

A significant increase in Austria's international climate financing budget is planned. The climate protection ministry will provide an additional 220 million euros by 2026, according to Austrian Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen at the UN World Climate Conference in Egypt.

Austria has set itself the goal of being climate-neutral by 2040, explained President Van der Bellen. / Picture: © Österreichische Präsidentschaftskanzlei / Peter Lechner/HBF

Austria's Federal President Van der Bellen is currently at the World Climate Conference in Sharm El-Sheik. As reported, President Alexander Van der Bellen is going into the COP27 world climate conference with mixed feelings.

In his speech to heads of state and government at the climate conference, the German president once again pointed out that we are a long way from achieving the Paris climate agreement concluded in 2015 on limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees. "The opposite is true: global emissions are rising again after the pandemic. Around the world, we are feeling the devastating effects of climate catastrophe."

"We countries in the Global North are responsible for a large share of CO2 emissions," the president acknowledged. "Large parts of the Global South are particularly hard hit by the effects of the climate crisis. These countries are rightly insisting on financial support for adaptation measures and climate-related loss and damage. Austria will meet this responsibility."

Environment Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens) concretized the plans at a press conference. According to ORF, the Climate Protection Ministry will allocate at least 50 million euros from its budget over the next four years just to finance the repair, prevention and minimization of damage ("loss and damage") caused by the climate crisis - especially in the most vulnerable countries.

"Because we are facing a global challenge that we can only overcome together," Gewessler said. In addition, another ten million euros would be made available this year from its reserves for international climate financing as reported by ORF. Five million of this amount will go to the Adaptation Fund, which will provide financial support to countries in the Global South to help them adapt to the negative effects of the climate crisis.

With the additional 160 million euros, the budget will thus increase to a total of 340 million euros over the next four years, according to ORF.

"The world's most vulnerable countries are suffering particularly from the consequences of the climate crisis - and rightly demand more support from the industrialized countries," the minister said, as reported by ORF. "Austria is taking responsibility and becoming a pioneer in international climate financing."

Financing is the all-defining theme of this year's climate conference. At the center of the debate is the demand by the countries of the Global South that the Global North also assume financial responsibility per the polluter pays principle - both for the damage and losses already incurred and for future adaptation measures. Industrialized countries are still largely opposed to this.

Austria has set itself the goal of being climate-neutral by 2040, the Federal President reminded the audience, adding that many countries have similar goals. They must now be quickly backed up with concrete action, he said. "Otherwise they are just blah blah blah, as Greta Thunberg would say."

Austria will make its contribution, in any case, Van der Bellen affirmed. "We are strongly expanding renewable energies. Step by step, we are ending heating with coal, oil and gas. We are investing record sums in public transport. That's good. But we still have to do better."

The question must be asked every day "how we can become even more effective in climate protection," the German president appealed to the heads of state and government present: "Let's do everything together so that future generations can be at home on a planet worth living on."

Presidential Chancellery of Austria

Austrian Federal Ministry for Climate Action Environment Energy Mobility Innovation Technology