LIMA, Oct 9, 2015:
The movers and shakers of the world economy are trying to close in on the magic number of US$100 billion (RM411 billion) a year to fight climate change as they meet this week in Peru.
But with the world well shy of that target, everyone seems to think the rest of the money should come from somewhere else.
The global talks on fighting climate change have stumbled over the issue of getting money to the countries that are most vulnerable to global warming and often least responsible for causing it.
Wealthy nations have pledged to come up with US$100 billion a year by 2020, but with two months to go to clutch United Nations climate talks, a new report this week found the world is less than two-thirds of the way there.
French Finance Minister Michel Sapin, whose country will host the December talks, said on Thursday that governments have given pretty much all they can, and called on institutions like the World Bank and European Investment Bank to step up.
“That will be decisive, because they haven’t done a lot,” he told journalists on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank annual meetings, which have gathered Finance Ministers and central bank chiefs from 188 countries.
“If we want the Paris conference to be a success, the question of funding has to be nine-tenths settled, if not 100%,” said Sapin.
On Wednesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry also singled out the World Bank and company, saying: “The United States looks to the multilateral development banks to set ambitious targets for scaling up mitigation and adaptation finance” at the Peru meetings.
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) calculated this week that wealthy countries came up with US$61.8 billion (RM 254 billion) in climate funding last year.
But while development banks could indeed do more, governments should not be let off the hook, climate experts say.
“Multilateral institutions can do more, but countries must also do more,” said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s point man on climate change, Under-Secretary General Janos Pasztor.
International charity Oxfam’s climate policy expert Isabel Kreisler echoed that view, saying: “Both the multilateral banks and governments should pay more.”
‘All that glitters…’
Responding to such appeals, the Inter-American Development Bank pledged on Thursday to increase climate finance from about 14% of lending to between 25 and 30% by 2020.
And the Asian Development Bank announced last month it would increase climate finance from US$3 billion to US$6 billion, directing 30% of its lending toward green projects.
Pierre Moscovici, the European commissioner for economic and financial affairs, meanwhile said he would pile “positive pressure” on European Union members to rise to the occasion in Peru, particularly the 10 countries that have yet to make pledges on climate funding ahead of the Paris talks.
But is US$38.2 billion (RM157 billion) more even enough?
Some activists are critical of the OECD’s calculations, saying part of the US$61.8 billion in climate funding it reported should not have been counted.
“All that glitters isn’t gold,” Oxfam’s Kreisler said.
She said supposedly “green” funding such as agricultural projects had been counted even when not directly linked to fighting climate change.
Activists have also criticised the OECD for counting too many loans, which will have to be repaid, saying more of the US$100 billion (RM411 billion) should be in the form of grants.
“There are still problems with the accounting method, which includes a lot of loans,” said Denis Voisin, of the Nicolas Hulot Foundation, a French environmental group.
“For now, the OECD report is a report for the countries of the north…. And that’s great. But now all countries need to get involved in this process,” Pasztor said.