EU’s climate aid pledge under the microscope

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As negotiators haggle over a climate deal in Durban, the European Commission has adopted proposals to ring-fence one-fifth of its €70 billion external finance budget for climate finance in the 2014-2020 period. 

Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said that the €14 billion sum was a 20% increase on the previous package, demonstrating the EU’s commitment to paying its fair share of long-term climate finance.

But there was one note of caution. “The EU and other advanced economies will face serious fiscal constraints in the years to come,” she said.

“Therefore, climate finance cannot only be public money alone. We need innovative sources of financing, in particular, in the private sector and carbon markets,” she said.  

The announcement comes amidst deadlock in Durban on the make up and launch of a $100 billion (€74.5 billion) a year Green Climate Fund in 2020.

One draft text circulating in the South African city of Durban on 6 December reportedly proposed raising money for the fund through a tariff on carbon dioxide emissions in the global maritime sector.

But delegates professed scepticism about a breakthrough deal of this nature.

Global climate finance  

On 6 December, the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) also reported that $22.9 billion – or 15% – of their members' official development assistance went towards climate aid to the developing world in 2010.

A third of that money was spent on helping poor nations adapt to the effects of climate change, such as droughts and floods.

The rest – $17.6 billion – was spent on climate mitigation measures to help curb growing emissions of greenhouse gases in the emerging economies. This figure was up 69% on 2009, the OECD said.

“Going forward, we urge donors to step up bringing in both mitigation and adaptation considerations into their development policies,” the OECD’s secretary-general Angel Gurria said in the statement.

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 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.

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