The EU has stumped up €7.2 billion of climate finance in the 2010-2012 period under a Fast Start Finance (FSF) deal, due to run out at the end of this year.
The FSF was intended to kickstart a global Green Climate Fund that will eventually generate $100 billion (€78.9 billion) a year in climate aid, but has been beset by squabbles over seats, sources of funding, methods of payment, and beneficiaries.
But the draft economic minister’s council (Ecofin) conclusions say only that the EU will “continue to provide climate finance support after 2012”, without providing details of any 2013-2019 package.
If a gap did appear in funding, “that would be disastrous for us, very negative” said Evans Davie Njewa, a climate negotiator for Malawi and the 48 least developed countries (LDCs).
“I remember Paul Watkinson [France’s chief climate negotiator] assuring us on behalf of the EU that there would be no gap after the 2012,” he told EurActiv. “A gap now would mean our communities having difficulties in adapting [to climate change] and our countries being hurt.”
Of the EU’s €7.2 billion funding to date, the draft conclusions says that 40.5% of the total has been spent on mitigation measures, 30.1% on adaptation and 13% on support action to reduce deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries.
Oxfam described the figures as “relatively balanced”, although it questioned whether the funds were really new, and additional to pre-existing funds that had been earmarked for overseas aid.
Many developing countries though question the allocation of EU FSF funds, 60% of which have been delivered without consulting the affected countries, according to Oxfam.
Mitigation or adaptation
Davie Njewa said that most revenue had so far gone to fund mitigation projects favoured by the wealthy North, rather than adaptation measures, favoured by the LDCs themselves.
“We don’t even have a clear registry where the support has been recorded,” he complained. “We’re told that the money has been going to straight to communities but I don’t know how much because we don’t get official reports,” he said.
Such perceived lack of transparency has fed suspicions that beneficiary countries may have been chosen according to their historic bilateral links with donors, and their economic and political proximities.
Tomorrow’s draft ministerial conclusion says that the EU “should work in a constructive manner with other developed countries towards the identification of pathways for scaling up climate finance from 2013 to 2020 from a wide variety of sources.”
These could include public, private, bilateral, unilateral and alternative sources of finance.
The conclusion also reiterates a previous council statement that revenues collected from airlines in the ETS framework could be used for climate aid.
However that commitment, like the EU’s climate finance program itself, may now be on hold.