Businesses must contribute to $100bn climate finance target, warns WRI

The UN target to raise $100bn of climate finance by 2020 is probably unreachable without contributions from the private sector and international development banks, the World Resources Institute has warned.

On Wednesday the WRI published Getting to $100 Billion: Climate Finance Scenarios and Projections to 2020 – one of the first quantitative analyses of funding scenarios to achieve the $100bn goal.

It found that contributions from rich nations alone – as has been suggested by India at the Bonn conference – would need to increase by 25% to reach $100bn.

“It’s not an impossibility if there is enough ambition but there’s nothing in the recent past that would indicate we could grow at those rates,” said report lead author Michael Westphal.

But under a scenario where the private sector and development banks contributed, climate finance could top $109bn, said the WRI.

“Forging an agreement on the path to $100bn is essential to build trust and bring countries together ahead of the Paris climate conference in December,” said report lead author Michael Westphal.

Pascal Canfin, a WRI senior advisor for international climate affairs, added: “As stated by President Hollande, we can’t secure an agreement in Paris without an agreement on finance.

“Therefore, showing a credible and balanced pathway towards the $100bn goal is an issue of strategic importance for the upcoming G7 summit.”

Adaptation and mitigation

The non-binding commitment to raise $100bn in climate finance was agreed at a UN climate summit in Copenhagen in 2009, with an acknowledgement that the funds would come from “a wide variety of sources, public and private, bilateral and multilateral, including alternative sources of finance”.

The money will be used to help poor countries cut greenhouse gas emissions and prepare their infrastructure for the extreme weather impacts of climate change.

While initiatives such as the Green Climate Fund have been set up to facilitate investment, there is still little agreement about what can be counted towards the goal and how to achieve it.

Alongside the growing commitments from the private sector and development banks, Westphal recommends that developed nations could also up their contribution by using new sources of finance, such as redirected fossil fuel subsidies, carbon market revenue, and financial transaction taxes.

Earlier on Wednesday, Lord Nicholas Stern also warned that businesses could be doing more combat global warming. Stern said companies should be placing more pressure on world leaders to create “political tipping points” for action on climate change”.

Brad Allen

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