Money will likely be the central tension in the U.N.’s COP27 climate negotiations

by | Nov 6, 2022 | Top Stories

A tuktuk drives during a sandstorm in Somalia in April. The United Nations says a multi-year drought in East Africa is evidence of “mounting and ever-increasing climate risks.”

Sally Hayden/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty

hide caption

toggle caption

Sally Hayden/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty

As the United Nations climate conference opens in Egypt, the most critical talks will likely focus on the soaring costs of limiting — and adapting to — global warming, especially in the world’s most vulnerable countries. It’s a contentious conversation more than a decade in the making. In 2009, industrialized countries pledged to provide developing nations with $100 billion a year in climate financing by 2020. The agreement is rooted in the fact that developed countries generated most of the heat-trapping pollution now in the atmosphere, while developing nations have already begun to bear a disproportionate share of the harm from extreme weather. That 2020 deadline came and went without rich countries delivering on their promises. Global efforts to limit climate change are in jeopardy without more aid, experts say. Developing countries need money to move to renewable energy so that their economies can grow without driving up greenhouse gas emissions. They also need funding to deal with the impacts they’re already facing from rising temperatures. Scientists say it’s likely climate change helped fuel floods in Pakistan that killed at least 1500 people this summer, and that it contributed to torrential rain that triggered floods and landslides in South Africa.

Now, rampant inflation and an energy crisis caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine could complicate efforts to convince developed nations to make good on their financial commitments. That’s to say nothing of the need to boost future obligations in line with the trillions of dollars that developing countries will actually need to prepare for a hotter Earth. “The challenge is going to be, how do we maintain momentum when there are so many short-term crises and pressures, and yet the climate crisis is intensifying?” says Amar Bhattacharya, who is part of an independent group of experts that was convened ahead of COP27 to advise conference leaders on how to increase climate financing. Despite the turmoil, rich countries face pressure to come up with the money they promised in order to keep developing nations on board with efforts to cut global emissions, says Bella Tonkonogy, a director at the Climate Policy Initiative, a nonprofit that works with governments and businesses to promote economic growth while addressing climate change. “Developed countries know that if we are to reach our global emissions reduction targets that everybody has signed up to, that developed countries need to have credibility and need to have trust established with developing countries,” says Tonkonogy. “And this question of finance is one of, if not the most critical components of establishing that trust.”
Observers call for rethinking climate finance The latest tally by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows developing countries received $83.3 billion from public and private sources in 2020. But even with the financing provided so far, there have been problems and stumbling blocks. The bulk of the money is being delivered through loans, which critics say add to the debt burden of governments that are already on shaky financial footing. Mia Amor Mottley, prime minister of Barbados, has said developing nations should at least have access to loans on the same favorable terms that were offered to their counterparts in the developed world. “We have incurred debts for COVID, we have incurred debts for climate, and we have incurred debts now in order to fight this difficult moment with the inflationary crisis and with the absence of certainty of supply of goods,” Mottley said at the United Nations in September. “Why, therefore, must the developing world now seek to find money within seven to 10 years when others had the benefit of longer tenors to repay their money?” …

Article Attribution | Read More at Article Source

Share This