Paris pushes other cities to bolster Green Climate Fund

Panama is on the EU's list of tax havens, but no EU country is. [Katja Schulz/Flickr]

The host city of the COP21 has announced a contribution of €1 million to the Green Climate Fund, and is mobilising support from municipalities the world over. EURACTIV France reports

In a symbolic gesture aimed at encouraging other cities around the world to do the same, Paris has dug into its own coffers to strengthen the Green Climate Fund.

€1 million contribution

Announced last Tuesday (2 December), the Parisian contribution is a modest one in the grand scheme of the climate challenge, but the city hopes its actions will lead to a “snowball effect” among other local authorities.

The Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, said, “Fighting climate change means implementing ambitious policies at the heart of our own territories, but also providing the financial means for the most vulnerable territories to protect their populations.”

>> Read: The Green Climate Fund set for launch before the COP 21

The French capital will provide €250,000 per year until 2020. But it will also urge the leaders of other cities all over the world to do the same.

Backed by Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, Anne Hidalgo began her lobbying on the matter at the Climate Summit for Local Leaders on Friday (4 December), as around 700 city mayors met at the Paris town hall, in the margins of the COP21.

>> Read: 700 cities promise renewable energy transition by 2050

Mobilisation from cities

But Paris is not the first city to have contributed to the Green Climate Fund: Brussels made a contribution of €800,000 in 2014.

A greater mobilisation from city authorities in favour of the Green Climate Fund could help relieve the current tensions surrounding the question of finance at the climate negotiations.

Developing countries need and expect significant progress on this central issue. And as far as they are concerned, it is far from resolved.

During the Copenhagen summit in 2009, developed countries promised to provide $100 billion per year by 2020 in order to help the most vulnerable countries adapt to climate change.

>> INFOGRAPHIC: Green Climate Fund – where is the money?

Part of this $100 billion sum will be handled by the Green Climate Fund, whose coffers are filling far too slowly to satisfy the countries of the global South.

“On the question of finance, we have to ensure that the commitments that have been made are respected,” warned a representative of the G77 + China, a group of developing countries. “Much depends on what we will obtain on the question of finances, because a number of developing countries counted on this tool when they put together their contributions,” she added.

Climate burden

The capitalisation of the Fund, one of the main financial tools designed to help support developing countries face the challenge of climate change, has so far been carried out largely by the governments of developed countries.

>> Read: Climate negotiations undermined by doubts over financing

At the beginning of November, the Fund was worth $10.2 billion. The contributions from Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and France added up to $6.7 billion.

Several developing countries have also decided to contribute to the Fund; Mexico with $10 million and Peru, which held the presidency of the COP before France, with $6 million. Other countries like Panama, Chili and Indonesia have also made more modest contributions. 

International negotiations on climate change began in 1992, and the UN organises an annual international climate change conference called the Conference of the Parties, or COP.

Paris is hosting the all-important 21st conference, from 30 November to 11 December 2015. The participating states must reach an agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol, the object of which was to reduce CO2 emissions between 2008 and 2012.

Reaching an agreement, whether legally binding or not, is the priority for the international community.

The Green Climate Fund was created during the climate conference in Durban (South Africa) in 2011. The objective for developed countries was to raise $100 billion a year by 2020.

An initial capitalisation objective has been fixed at $15 billion for the next three years. This money will be used to help poorer countries to limit their greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change, but it will only go some way towards covering greenhouse gas reduction targets.

The global cost of cutting emissions to sustainable levels is estimated at between €500 and €1,500 billion per year. 

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