Climate protection plans lack financial direction

Madagascar appears to 'bleed' into the sea, as its red soil is washed away due to deforestation. []

Germany wants to launch more investment projects in developing countries in order to support the fight against climate change.  But where the money will come from is still not clear. EURACTIV’s partner Tagesspiegel reports.

State Secretary for Environment Jochen Flasbarth (SPD) has been in attendance at the COP21 summit, to take part in talks about development projects. Flasbarth will address the financial situation with Gabon’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Emmanuel Issoze-Ngondet.

The UN Climate Change Secretariat has compiled the financial contributions made by the international community up until 2020, reaching a figure of some $90 billion, just short of the $100 billion that had been pledged. The German government announced three investment projects on Monday (7 December) that meet the criteria that poorer countries have called for.

Money for renewable energy

In conjunction with nine other donors, Germany has invested $10 billion, $3 billion from Berlin itself, in the electrification of Africa using renewable energy. The objective is to get to 2020 and have 10 gigawatts of energy produced via renewable means in Africa. The G7 nations, development banks and the African Union have set a target of 300 gigawatts by 2030.

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The initiative aims to build on the many programmes and partnerships that exist. Germany, for example, has invested in Kenyan geothermal power and a solar power plant in Morocco. The South African government, along with its counterparts in the east of the continent, have been negotiating on the subject of an energy corridor that would extend from Cairo to Cape Town.

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If it was left up to Germany, then the money would not be used in the Inga dam construction project on the Congo River. However, this has not been explicitly ruled out. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been trying for a few years to get the mammoth project back on track. A good billion dollars in funding from the World Bank and African development banks has gone into preparatory studies. The project is predicted to be capable of producing 4,800 megawatts once completed and brought online. The remaining €6 billion needed to cover costs is still yet to be found though. The project has been in the pipeline for some time, with it first being mooted back in 1999.

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The $10 billion dollars that Germany, France, the USA, the UK, the European Commission, Canada, Japan, Italy, Sweden and the Netherlands want to raise and invest in smaller projects could bring electricity to more than 600 million Africans. How the money will actually be spent is still yet to be announced, although, Germany’s Minister for the Environment, Barbara Hendricks (SPD), said on Monday that investment will start next year.

The fact that within the space of a week, Germany and France were able to increase an initial pledge of $5 billion to $10 billion, should convince developing nations that the 2020 targets will be met.

Forests prioritised

A further $1 billion, plus $540 million in private investment, is set to be channelled into reforestation in 10 African countries. It is significant that more than half of the investment for the project will be provided by private donors.

Many developing countries have expressed their doubts that enough private investment could be raised to fund these kinds of projects. But, if half a billion has been pledged to reforest a significant part of the continent, then private donation’s detractors should be worried.

The DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Rwanda, Togo and Uganda have contributed around 30 million hectares of degraded land to the project. Ethiopia and Kenya have lost a great deal of their forests over the past decades and Kenya, at least, have noticed worrying effects on water quality as a result.

The Mau Forest, which has been heavily logged, is the largest water-catchment area in Kenya and contains the source of the Mara River, which flows through the Serengeti/Masai Mara game reserves. Should the river dry up, it would be devastating for the wildebeest and other migratory animals that call the Savannah their home. The reforestation project is a part of the African Union’s New Partnership for Africa’s Development programme (NEPAD), with the Ecoplanet Bamboo investment fund, the Clinton Foundation and the Nature Conservatory also involved.

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A total of 13 African states have listed reforestation projects in their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) and want to save 1.2 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide through these measures, should the projects find sufficient funding.

Climate insurance

Germany wants to use a further $420 million to build a climate insurance fund for poorer countries. The G7 had already discussed the possibility of establishing such a fund in the past. On Monday, parliamentary state secretary for development, Thomas Silberhorn (CSU), announced $150 million for the initiative, which is otherwise known as “InsuResilience”. The G7 countries have contributed $420 million, with which 180 million people will be insured against damages attributed to climate change.

>>Read: Germany backs island nations’ bid for 1.5 degrees target

By 2020, around 400 million people will be able to count on financial support when faced with the effects of extreme weather. The German government has, therefore, gone some way towards addressing the serious concerns of certain island nations, who are threatened by the effects of climate change. 

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