Climate Aid for Poor Countries Reached $70 Billion in 2016

Amjad Abdulla of the Small Island States said time had "already run out" for some countries on climate change. Picture: PHYS.ORG

NEW YORK, 27 NOVEMBER 23018 (BLOOMBERG) – Climate aid from the world’s richest countries to the poorest reached more than US$70 billion in 2016, still some way short of a 2020 target for US$100 billion to help developing nations combat global warming.

The assessment from an official United Nations group monitoring the flows shows progress that rich countries led by the U.S. and European Union are making on the goal they set in 2009. While the amount of funds has been rising, both the U.S. and Australia have stopped contributing to the Green Climate Fund, raising concerns that their pledges won’t be met.

The report is one of the items that envoys from almost 200 nations will debate when the UN’s annual conference on global warming convenes in Poland next month. Tensions have been building for years on the funding that industrial nations promised developing ones to pay for transforming their economies to run on clean energy and cope with the more violent storms and rising sea levels associated with climate change.

“We are still falling unacceptably short of the amount needed to make the dramatic energy system transformation needed to avoid warming beyond 1.5 degrees,” Amjad Abdulla, chief negotiator for the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), said. “The IPCC’s recent special report says we at best have a decade to get it done. The clock is ticking.”

The United Nations goal is to hold the global average temperature increase to well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), which would still represent the quickest shift in the climate since the last ice age ended some 10,000 years ago.

India, China, Brazil and South Africa last week criticised the richest countries in the world for not sticking to their finance commitments while leaders of small island nations, the worst affected by climate change have repeatedly called for increased levels of money to stave off global warming.

A group of around 40 countries that are members of the Climate Vulnerable Forum set up to give voice to smaller countries affected by global warming called for “urgent further action to enable far greater flows of international climate finance to be delivered far more rapidly and effectively” in a statement.

The funds are a linchpin of the UN talks because they help coax poorer nations into making a costly shift away from fossil fuels such as coal. A report earlier this year by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that net emissions must reach zero by 2050 to keep temperatures increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius, which is the goal of many developing nations.

The Green Climate Fund, that has responsibility for backing climate-related projects, approved over US$1 billion of new projects at its latest board meeting in October and began the fund’s first replenishment drive.

Renewable energy investment fell 16 percent to US$269.5 billion in 2016, due mainly to falling technology costs, while global finance flows rose to US$681 billion, according to a UN assessment that nations have to report into.

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