A U.N. summit on climate change next week will test rich nations’ willingness to fill a near-empty fund to help the poor, but pledges are likely to be far short of developing nations’ hopes for $15 billion in 2014.
Emerging nations say that cash for the Green Climate Fund (GCF), meant to help the poor with projects to curb rising greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to heatwaves, floods and rising seas, is vital to combat global warming.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wants more than 120 world leaders to make “bold pledges” about climate change at the Sept. 23 summit in New York.
Many rich countries have indicated willingness to fund the GCF but German Chancellor Angela Merkel is the only leader so far to make a large contribution, pledging $1 billion over four years in July.
“A number of countries are working very hard to try to … make the announcements in New York,” said Hela Cheikhrouhou, head of the GCF which opened headquarters in South Korea in 2013.
“We think some of them will do so, and several more are likely to more broadly state their support,” she said. A separate GCF donors’ conference will be held in November.
Many rich nations are struggling to maintain aid budgets as they focus on spurring growth and jobs at home.
Before Germany’s announcement, pledges to the GCF totalled just $55 million from 12 nations, according to the World Bank. And no other rich nations are signalling vast new outlays.
Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg told Reuters that she would pledge 200 million crowns ($31 million) at Ban’s summit, for 2015 alone. That is less than many environmental groups have been hoping since Oslo is often among the most generous donors.