No cash, no COP21 agreement forthcoming

This image shows heat radiating from the Pacific Ocean; blue indicates cloud cover. Upper levels continue to absorb heat, but ocean depths have not warmed measurably in the past decade, puzzling scientists. (Nasa)

This image shows heat radiating from the Pacific Ocean; blue indicates cloud cover. Upper levels continue to absorb heat, but ocean depths have not warmed measurably in the past decade, puzzling scientists. (Nasa)

The global target of directing $100-billion to poor countries to help them cope with climate change is likely to be missed unless private sector finance is increased significantly, according to a new analysis.

Rich countries will also have to raise more money from taxpayers to fund developing countries, enabling them to cut their greenhouse gas emissions and rebuild their infrastructure to adapt to the likely effects of global warming.

The analysis, by the World Resources Institute, is a critical part of the run-up to the United Nations climate change conference, COP21, starting on November 30 in Paris. Poor countries were promised $100-billion a year from developed countries by 2020, as part of the deal reached at the climate summit in Copenhagen in 2009.

But finance has fallen well short of that target so far, and poor countries are concerned they will not receive the money. They are demanding that the target be reached, as a prerequisite for any agreement in Paris.

The analysis shows that the target is unlikely to be met unless private sector funding is included. If it is, then the target can be reached or even exceeded. The Getting to $100-billion report, undertaken to inform the French and other governments before the negotiations, shows that rich countries must increase their pledges of funding to meet the target. It posits four scenarios, with varying amounts of money coming from the public sector, development banks and businesses.

Under the most likely scenario, developed countries would provide about $31-billion a year towards the target from their taxpayers, nearly a doubling of the estimated $17-billion provided in 2012. Development banks, including the World Bank, would supply $28-billion, also nearly a doubling of the $15-billion provided in 2012.

“There is clearly a need for additional public money,” said Pascal Canfin, a senior adviser on international climate affairs at the World Resources Institute and co-author of the report. “But this is doable.”

The money from rich countries would enable about $39-billion to be raised from the private sector – in other words, businesses would be expected to co-invest or use loans from the public sector, which would also be a substantial increase on the $21-billion from this source in 2012. The money from development banks would also be raised in the private sector, providing about $39-billion, up from $21-billion in 2012.

If realised, this would amount to about $137-billion, enough to satisfy developing countries’ requests.

Providing the finance is seen as crucial to the success of the Paris talks. – © Guardian News & Media 2015

 

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