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Thursday, December 2, 2021

COP26 A critical moment for climate finance in developing countries

The payment of funds by rich countries to developing countries to help them adapt to climate change proved to be a major sticking point of the COP26 summit.

Funding has been a worrying issue from the start of the two-week negotiations, when rich countries admitted that they had missed the $100 billion annual pledge made ten years ago.

At the end of the summit, several “cover decision” documents will summarize the consensus reached by the countries at the meeting. The negotiator said that the climate financing terms are the most controversial.

More and more developing countries have stated that they need to see clearer financial commitments before the end of COP26 in order to reach agreement on emission reduction recommendations.

COP26 Chairman Alok Sharma said he will convene a ministerial meeting on Thursday night to try to reach an agreement. “There is still a lot of work to be done,” he said. “Financial negotiations really need to be accelerated, they need to accelerate now.”

The draft text, which was expected to be updated overnight, was postponed to Friday, partly because of tensions and differences in language related to adaptation and money for loss and damage.

India alone stated that it needs US$1 trillion in international public funding as part of its commitment to reduce emissions to net zero by 2070. A large number of figures indicate the degree of disjunction between the various groups in terms of funds.

Representatives of climate-fragile countries and Greenpeace met in the media area in the heart of Glasgow, accusing the United States and the European Union of obstructing ambitions and refusing to allocate sufficient funds to help developing countries cope with the climate crisis.

“Financial issues have always been a key issue in this process,” said Alden Meyer, senior consultant at E3G. “We are in danger of falling into the lowest common denominator spiral. The United States, Europe and other developed countries limit financial possibilities, while Saudi Arabia, China and other countries limit mitigation possibilities.”

Although some countries are concerned that the draft text does not have enough details or substance, other countries are unwilling to promise more content.

The United States is under particular pressure because negotiators and activists said that although it raised its contribution to $11.4 billion before the summit, it did not give enough support. They say that President Joe Biden’s promise to fulfill by 2024 is too far away.

“The Biden administration is in a difficult situation. They can’t just snap their fingers to get the money,” a negotiator said. “But the fact is that they only completed a quarter of their fair share of climate finance.”

Major economies, including the United States, have long opposed the idea of ​​a new fund that will provide compensation for losses and damages related to climate change.

They also oppose the mandatory taxation of carbon credits traded between countries, which will be used to set up adaptation funds for poorer countries, but hope that voluntary contributions to such funds will be sufficient.

Emmanuel Tachie-Obeng, an official of the Ghana Environmental Protection Agency, said: “It is very, very important that we have a facility to deal with loss and damage.” “Look at the disasters caused by climate change. All our farms have been wiped out, and our schools have also been wiped out. Annihilated. Who will pay for these losses.”

One of the tasks of the Glasgow negotiators is to agree on procedures for setting new climate finance targets for 2025 and beyond, even if the previous targets have not been achieved.

Achieving the annual goal of 100 billion U.S. dollars was originally set for 2020 and has now been postponed to the end of 2022.

An official said, “We cannot find ourselves over-committing or over-committing in climate financing,” nor can we deliver on our promises.

Developing countries are also pushing to increase the transparency of what climate finance is “counted in” and asking rich countries to disclose more details about the types of climate finance they contribute.

“We know that the $100 billion promise will not be fulfilled before 2023,” said Fekadu Beyene, Ethiopia’s environmental commissioner. “This funding gap and failure to deliver on promises must be honestly acknowledged in the text-and then must be resolved.”

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