“The poorest countries that are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change are also those that have the least financial capacity to respond,” Bob McMullan said. “As a developed country in a region, Australia has an obligation to help our poorer neighbours prepare for and adapt to these and other impacts of climate change,” Bob McMullan said. “Unless we help our neighbours adapt and act to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, the world will see millions of climate change refugees.” As part of its International Development Assistance and Climate Change commitment a Rudd Labor Government will: Increase aid expenditure on climate change by $150 million over 3 years to fund initiatives on adaptation to climate change - with a priority on Pacific Islands and East Timor; Assist countries to develop climate change adaptation plans, particularly low lying countries and those susceptible to extreme weather events; Ensure climate change is a key consideration in the design of Australia‟s aid program; Develop a Pacific Climate Change Strategy; Build capacity for avoided deforestation and better forest management in the Asia Pacific; Share Australia‟s scientific and technology expertise in climate change; Ensure that the aid program also promotes the use of low carbon emitting technologies; Increase support for NGOs that assist with the implementation of this new approach; and Participate in multilateral and bilateral programs of assistance. “Australia‟s continued refusal to ratify the Kyoto protocol means Australia cannot play a direct role in ensuring the allocation of funding under the protocol‟s Adaptation Fund to countries in our region. Labor will redress that by ratifying the Kyoto protocol,” Peter Garrett said. Major Australian aid and environment NGOs released a report last year „Australia Responds - Helping our Neighbours Fight Climate Change” that warned that efforts to end poverty among our poorest neighbours will fail unless the Australian Government takes urgent action to tackle climate change and prepare for its effects. Leading international reports - including the UK Stern Review and the 2007 Assessment reports of the UN‟s expert Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - also highlighted the need for wealthier nations to assist poorest countries: “The poorest developing countries will be hit earliest and hardest by climate change, even though they have contributed little to causing the problem. Their low incomes make it difficult to finance adaptation. The international community has an obligation to support them in adapting to climate change. Without such support there is a serious risk that development progress will be undermined.” (Stern Review, 2006). The World Resources Institute estimates that developed, industrialised countries are responsible for 76 per cent of the world‟s historical emissions and their 2000 emissions at 14.1 tons per person (excluding land use change) were four times higher than developing countries, which emit an average of 3.3 tons per person. Projected climate change impacts on developing countries include: Increased drought in Africa – the critical water shortages in Darfur were cited in this context in a June 2007 report of the UN Environment Program; Retreating glaciers in the Himalayas resulting in significantly increasing water shortages in India and China; Inundation of coastal areas with sea level rises, including heavily populated megadelta regions of Bangladesh and the Mekong as well as a number of the smaller Pacific Island countries. Climate change is also predicted to: Degrade forests, fish, pastures and crop land that many poor families depend on; Damage poor people‟s homes, water supply, and health; Reduce the quality and quantity of drinking water, and exacerbate malnutrition among children, particularly in sub- Saharan Africa; Lead to more deaths and illness due to heat-waves, floods, droughts and hurricanes; and; Increase the prevalence of diseases spread by mosquitoes, like malaria and dengue fever.