Rich Countries Missing the $100 Billion Climate Finance Goal
Rich countries risk missing their goal to provide $100 billion a-year by 2020 to help poorer nations combat climate change, after funding slowed in the year since President Donald Trump vowed to pull the U.S. out of the global Paris deal.
Climate finance from developed countries reached $78.9 billion in 2018, far short of the target agreed in 2015 by 197 countries as part of the Paris Agreement, according to a OECD study published Friday.
Even though climate finance rose 11% in 2018 from $71.2 billion in 2017, it was at a slower growth rate than seen in 2016 to 2017.
“Donors need to urgently step up their efforts to support developing countries to respond to the immediate effects of the pandemic and to integrate climate actions into each country’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis to drive sustainable, resilient and inclusive economic growth,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria.
Efforts have also been derailed by Trump’s decision to halt $2 billion of payments to the United Nations’ Green Climate Fund, the world’s largest international finance effort dedicated to addressing climate change. The U.S. had previously been one of the biggest climate donors before Trump took office.
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Early 2019 data from the European Union and its member states, who provide the biggest chunk of money, shows direct country-to-country climate finance may have continued to increase last year, the OECD said, providing some signs that the target remains in sight.
Countries are increasingly choosing loans over grants to provide climate finance. Between 2013 and 2018, the share of loans in total public finance provided grew from 52% to 74%, while the share of grants saw a decline, the report said.
That approach has been criticized by the charity Oxfam, because recipient countries end up having to pay significant amounts in loan repayments and interest. It estimated that as a result, climate finance in 2017 was just a third of that reported by developed countries.
“It is particularly unjust that a paltry 14% of climate finance is going to the least developed nations and just 2% to small island developing states, which have done least to cause the climate crisis but are being hit hardest,” said Tracy Carty, senior policy adviser on climate change at Oxfam.
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