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Obama’s Failure To Deliver Climate Funding Could Sink Paris Agreement

Nitin Sethi, Business Standard

Lack of financial commitments from rich countries poses threat to Paris meet

A clear road-map for delivery of climate finance at the Paris climate change conference suffered multiple setbacks this week. The US informed that it would not be able to provide the pledged $3 billion by December to the Green Climate Fund. The EU finance ministers concluded their meeting without committing to a clear road-map for delivery of their fair share towards the annual $100 billion corpus target, which is to be delivered by 2020. It also emerged that the Green Climate Fund has only $5.83 billion in its kitty and not the $10.2 billion that had been publicly pledged by developed countries through grand announcements in 2014.

At a recently concluded meeting of the Fund’s board in Zambia, these countries refused to commit to a deadline by which the rest of the monies ($4.37 billion) would be deposited with the Fund.

In what some observers termed as desperation, the Fund’s board hastily cleared its first eight projects to developing countries ahead of the Paris climate change conference. These add up to a mere $168 million in total disbursement.

“It does not augur well for Paris. While developing countries are asking for a road map for enhanced financial obligations after 2020 we are witnessing the developed countries sliding back on commitments they made in previous years to provide funds by 2020,” said a senior Indian climate change negotiator, wishing not to be named.

He was referring to the existing obligation taken on by the developed world under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to provide $100 billion annually by 2020. The Green Climate Fund has been set up along the lines of a bank to use public funds from developed countries to finance reduction of emissions and adaptation to climate change in developing countries. It reports back to the collective of 196 countries that are party to the climate convention, called the Conference of Parties.

A member of the GCF board speaking on the basis of anonymity said: “The projects were cleared in haste before the Paris meeting but the board is clear we have to present the real picture and not be self-congratulatory in our report to the countries at the conference (at Paris). The fact is the GCF has not really taken off as yet. The report for the meeting is being drafted.”

“US made it clear it will not be able to deliver on its pledge by December (when the Paris meeting takes place). Other developed country parties also did not inform when they would come through with the remainder of the pledged amount of $10.6 billion. To top that, there is no clarity on how the GCF kitty will be replenished beyond these initial pledges,” said Indrajit Bose from the Third World Network, attending the board meeting in Zambia as an observer.


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