Can $600 Billion in Climate Funds Be Raised in the Next Six Years?

President François Hollande of France addresses a press briefing on climate change, EVAN SCHNEIDER/UN PHOTO
President François Hollande of France spoke animatedly to the media at the United Nations on the topic of climate change, Sept. 27, 2015. His country is convening a critical summit meeting on a global climate treaty later this year. EVAN SCHNEIDER/UN PHOTO

A relatively upbeat joint report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a group of developed countries, and the independent Climate Policy Initiative shows that the international campaign to finance projects to halt or to adapt to damaging climate changes is headed in the right direction.

The just-released survey covering 2013 and 2014, updated in September 2015 in a status check, was published barely two months before the critical climate talks in Paris taking place Nov. 30-Dec. 11 under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

While the report indicates that annual amounts of aid and other sources of climate funds have been increasing, the money has yet to reach the $100-billion-a-year level pledged by developed countries in 2010. Still, there is optimism about the trend. To meet the target year of 2020 would mean raising $100 billion a year, or $600 billion total in the next six years — 2015 through 2020. A funding plan for post-2020 is expected to be agreed at the Paris conference. (The total for 2015 will not be known until 2016.)

“The key conclusion is that there is significant progress towards the USD 100 billion goal,” the extensively detailed, technical report said. “We estimate the aggregate volume of public and private climate finance mobilized by developed countries for developing countries reached USD 61.8 billion in 2014, up from USD 52.2 billion in 2013, with an average for the two years of USD 57.0 billion per year in 2013-14.”

Most of the money came from earmarked government-to-government climate aid, with significant amounts also added by regional development banks in Latin America, Africa and Asia as well as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Investment Bank. The World Bank and the International Finance Corporation were also contributors.

The Green Climate Fund, set up in 2014 as part of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, has received pledges but no disbursements to date. Also, no South-South climate finance is included in the report, though there are initiatives being developed in several regions.

The report, “Climate finance in 2013-14 and the USD 100 billion goal,” presents for the first time an estimate of how much private finance has been mobilized for climate action in developing countries: $16.7 billion in 2014, up from $12.7 billion in 2013. The authors of the report caution that more work needs to be done in measuring private sector funds.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), with 34 member nations, was formed to discuss and research economic, social and governance issues. It is based in Paris. The Climate Change Initiative was founded and is still led by Thomas C. Heller, a former Stanford University professor. Its initial support funding came from the industrialist and philanthropist George Soros. It now has a variety of public and private funders and offices and programs in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

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