COP22 ended last Friday (18 November), leaving the question of climate finance unanswered. For developing countries, this is a disappointing failure. EURACTIV France reports.
Left open-ended by the Paris Agreement, the question of climate finance resurfaced during discussions at the UNFCC’s 22nd Conference of the Parties in Marrakesh.
But after two weeks of talks, the mobilisation of the $100 billion per year package promised by developed countries to help the most vulnerable countries adapt to the effects of climate change had made little progress.
Disappointing Paris Agreement
“Climate finance was the big disappointment of the Paris Agreement,” said Armelle Le Comte, from Oxfam France. “The status quo won out at COP22,” she added.
In December 2015, leaders from around the world agreed on the common goal of limiting global warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels. They also renewed a promise made in Copenhagen in 2009 to mobilise $100bn per year by 2020 to pay for the damage their emissions have caused to developing countries.
One year on, and progress has been slow. In a declaration on long-term climate finance, participating countries agreed to honour their $100bn objective, but without giving details on how they would do so.
The one area where progress has been made since COP21 is the recognition that not enough is being spent on climate change adaptation. “But this decision to say that more needs to be done to mitigate climate change was made without specifying the amounts or the timeline,” said Le Comte.
Adaptation Vs. mitigation
But developed and developing countries disagreed over the distribution of funding between mitigation and adaptation efforts.
A roadmap drawn up by developed countries and presented in Marrakesh allocated just 20% of climate finance to efforts to limit the damage caused by climate change. This proposal would see $20bn per year spent on climate change adaptation, while the UN’s own estimates put the need at $140-300bn per year.
The remaining 80% of this money would be spent on mitigation. In other words, cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
But NGOs see this as an unfair distribution. They stressed that the need for adaptation is particularly important in developing countries, which are hardest hit by climate hazards like droughts and flooding.
“Ministers and negotiators from developed countries […] made sure to turn a blind eye to the lack of financing for adaptation,” said Le Comte.
Developing countries themselves called for at least 40% of the $100bn fund to be spent on adaptaion.
“Developed countries wanted this roadmap to be adopted as part of the Marrakesh Action Proclamation, but the developing countries blocked it,” the Oxfam representative said.
Pushing back to 2018
The question of how to account for the spending has been pushed back to 2018. But disagreement is rife over whether private finance or loans should be included in the package, leading to very different estimates of the finances available.
In their roadmap, the developed countries estimated that they had already mobilised an average of $41bn per year in 2013 and 2014. The various pledges made so far should increase this figure to $67bn by 2020, they said.
But Oxfam contests these figures. The NGO’s Climate Finance Shadow Report 2016 estimates that in 2013 and 2014, “net assistance to developing countries specifically targeting climate change may have been just $11–21bn”.
Oxfam estimates that this will rise to $18-34bn by 2020; a far cry from the $100bn promised.