Rich nations won’t deliver $100bn international climate finance promise until 2023

The COP26 Presidency has outlined plans to finally make good on a commitment from OECD nations to provide $100bn of climate finance to poorer countries annually, but stated that the full amount will not be delivered this year or next.

Rich nations won’t deliver $100bn international climate finance promise until 2023

Many developing nations have barely contributed to emissions historically

The Presidency’s Climate Finance Delivery Plan, published this afternoon (25 October), is the most in-depth roadmap on when and how developed nations will meet the goal, which has been missed every year since it was first announced in 2009 and formally ratified at COP15 in 2015.  

In 2019, the last year for which OECD data is available, around $80bn was provided. Some organisations have placed the figure far lower; Oxfam has claimed that the average provided annually to date has been $36bn.

According to the new Delivery Plan, the $100m milestone is unlikely to be achieved in 2020 or 2021, nor in 2022. But, in 2023, it should be met, and in the years that follow, exceeded. Some $117bn should be provided in 2025.

The UK Government developed the Delivery Plan, which has not yet been made available to the general public, in collaboration with Canada and Germany. These three nations have already committed to increasing international climate finance in the coming years. Canada, after providing $2.7bn between 2015 and 2021, will now deliver $5.3bn by 2026. Germany, after providing Є4bn annually between 2015 and 2021, will now deliver Є6bn annually through to 2025. And the UK, after providing £5.8bn between April 2016 and March 2021, has pledged £11.6bn before March 2026.

No other new spending announcements are expected in the immediate term, as a result of the Delivery Plan, but many developed nations will need to rethink their commitments in the coming two years.

COP26 President Alok Sharma said: “Scaling up climate finance has been one of my top priorities as COP President. This plan recognises progress, based on strong new climate finance commitments. There is still further to go, but this Delivery Plan, alongside the robust methodological report from the OECD, provides clarity, transparency and accountability. It is a step towards rebuilding trust and gives developing countries more assurance of predictable support.”

German Environment, Nuclear Safety and Natural Conservation Secretary, Jochen Flasbarth, added: Developing countries have been rightfully disappointed that so far developed countries have not delivered on the $ 100 billion pledge that was already given in 2009. 

“We are very aware that also after today’s release of the Delivery Plan, a lot of work remains. However, it is my strong hope that with this plan, we can show the international community that developed countries remain committed to delivering on their promises.”

The publication of the Delivery Plan comes after the G7 Summit, at which participants agreed to refocus efforts on delivering the $100bn commitment.

Early reaction

Some green groups have called on Ministers in developed nations to go further than the Delivery Plan as soon as possible, warning that there is a risk of developing nations disengaging at COP26 if they feel their voices are not heard.

Among them is Nairobi-based think-tank Power Shift Africa, which focuses on the energy transition. The organisation’s director Mohamed Adow said: “The $100bn of climate finance is not only a lifeline to poor and vulnerable communities on the front line of a climate crisis they did not cause, it’s also the bare minimum that rich countries need to do to hold up their end of the bargain at COP26. 

“ For more than 10 years. they have been promising this climate funding would be provided, and every year they delay and drag their feet.  $100bn is less than the UK alone is spending on the HS2 rail link, yet the combined wealth of all the world’s developed nations refuses to stump up the cash to help tackle the climate crisis.  It’s utterly shameful and the deal announced today is still short despite the UK Government trying to spin it as ‘mission accomplished’. Poor nations will not  be conned and the leaders of the developed world need to pull their finger out and get this money on the table if COP26 is going to be a success.” 

Paris-based thinktank IDDRI’s associate researcher David Levai said “the opportunity to reassure developing countries that their concerns were to be addressed” has been “missed”.

“In a year when they face compounding crises – health, climate and debt – support is more crucial than ever to sustain the transition,” Levai said. “Developed countries need to answer calls to deliver what was promised, to increase funding for adaptation and to improve access. If not addressed urgently by the UK presidency, this issue risks toxifying COP when it opens [this week].”

E3G’s chief executive Nick Mabey said that, while the “last-minute” planshould hopefully support collaboration between ‘high ambition’ countries at COP26, more clarity must be provided in Glasgow.

As well as the above points, many groups have argued that developed nations should make an effort to make up the funding shortfalls from previous years – or at least the shortfall likely to materialise for 2020, 2021 and 2022.

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Sarah George

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