EU fogs post-2012 climate aid pledges

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EXCLUSIVE: Europe’s finance ministers will not promise any specific new monies for fast-dwindling climate aid to the developing world when they meet in Brussels today (13 November), according to draft conclusions seen by EURACTIV.

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.

Lies Craeynest, Oxfam’s EU Policy Adviser, said in a statement:
"Europe’s climate support for developing countries has helped protect vital infrastructure, industry and agriculture from increasingly erratic and extreme weather over the last three years. Yet despite a rise in the frequency and intensity of hurricanes, storms, droughts and floods Europe is unwilling to increase their support for poor countries after 2012."

The 'Copenhagen Accord', agreed at in the Danish capital in December 2009, included a pledge by developed countries to raise $100 billion per year by 2020 to help poor countries fight climate change and adapt to its inevitable consequences.

Meeting the following year in Cancún, the 190 nations involved in the UN talks made progress on the establishment of a Green Climate Fund to deliver climate cash to developing countries.

The fund will be governed by a board of 24 members, on which developed and developing countries will be equally represented.

  • 2013-2020: Fund-raising due to begin to capitalise the Green Climate Fund.
  • By Oct. 2014: IPCC to deliver fifth scientific assessment of climate change.
  • 2015: COP17 parties to agree a new legal framework agreement for a second round of emissions reductions under the Kyoto Protocol.
  • 2020: New global climate treaty due to come into force.

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