By Thalif Deen
To deal with the imminent threat, which will end countless human lives and wreak havoc on agriculture, the United Nations (UN) intends to contribute $ 100 billion per year by 2020, as part of the Green Climate Fund. which will help developing countries strengthen their resilience and adaptation to climate change.
"I will proactively engage with leaders from the global North and South to ensure this goal is met and found credible by all," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced at a high-level meeting. level on climate change held in New York on June 29.
The Green Climate Fund, headquartered in Incheon, South Korea, should be “up and running,” Ban said, with funds to be delivered before the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) of the United Nations Framework Convention. United Nations on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to be held in December in Paris.
When asked whether the goal of $ 100 billion is realistic, Lisa Elges, director of Climate Policy at Transparency International, told IPS that "the most practical question is, how can it be achieved?"
“Public coffers are required, but public funds are still needed. And if you want to involve the private sector, you need public funds to provide subsidies and attract and take advantage of private investment, "he said.
One source could be the crackdown on illicit financial flows, he suggested. If governments attack money laundering, then more taxed money could be made available for the world's development and environmental needs, Elges argued.
Annually, 1,000 million dollars are lost in illicit financial movements, which includes corruption, bribery and tax evasion.
"When the corrupt lose, the people and the planet will win," he said.
Michael Westphal of the World Resources Institute (WRI) told IPS that the politically feasible way to achieve $ 100 billion per year by 2020 is to include a broader package of climate finance and strengthen public funding.
The goal is possible, but Westphal cautioned that it will require concerted action by public actors by using public funds to boost private sector investment.
With regard to financing for climate purposes, WRI propose several recommendations.
First, the industrialized North must commit to increasing public funding until 2020.
This includes public funds for the climate of industrialized countries, according to their reports to the UNFCCC, which mostly consists of financing through bilateral channels, funds from multilateral banks and official development assistance.
Second, the industrialized North should consider using new sources of financing, such as redirecting subsidies to fossil fuels, carbon market revenues, financial transaction taxes, export credits and relief from debt, which have been used little to mobilize climate finance.
And third, the parties need to clarify what the definition of climate finance is and develop methodologies, including the calculation and attribution of private sector investment, to improve accounting and reporting.
At a summit meeting of the Group of 20 industrialized countries, held in Australia in November, US President Barack Obama announced a contribution of $ 3 billion to help the poorest countries fight climate change.
Even before Obama's pledge, the New York Times reported that at least 10 countries, including Germany, France and South Korea, had pledged about $ 3 billion to the fund.
Following Washington's announcement, Japan promised a contribution of $ 1.5 billion.
"The contribution of the United States will have a direct impact on mobilizing contributions from the other large economies," predicted in November the executive director of the Green Climate Fund, Hela Cheikhrouhou.
"I strongly urge developed countries to provide a credible political path to mobilize $ 100 billion per year by 2020 to support developing countries s reducing emissions and strengthening their resilience," Ban said at the 29th meeting. of June.
It is essential that the countries of the industrialized North clarify before COP 21 how the public financing of the 100 billion dollars will be composed and how they will attract the participation of the private sector, he stressed.
An agreement must also recognize the need for long-term funds beyond 2020, he added.
"I welcome the recent announcement by Germany that it will double its financial support for climate purposes by 2020, and I encourage other developed countries to follow suit," he urged.
In its entirety, this financing package will build trust and help unleash the trillions of dollars of additional funding needed to build low-carbon, climate-resilient economies, he said.
According to the UN, a summit meeting of rulers in September generated a "much-needed boost" in the area of climate finance.
Public and private sector leaders have pledged to mobilize more than $ 200 billion by the end of 2015 to finance climate-resilient, low-carbon growth, a UN statement said.
At COP 20, held in Lima in December, $ 10 billion was pledged to launch the Green Climate Fund, the UN says.
With a different perspective, Elges, of Transparency International, asks “how do we ensure that the world spends effectively… the money destined to avoid the serious (consequences of) climate change? If that money is lost, it could have disastrous consequences ”in practice.
He also pointed to the threat of corruption from lobbies in the fossil fuel industries of the United States or Great Britain, for example, who are capable of influencing long-term climate policy for short-term benefits, he warned. .
For example, $ 550 billion a year goes to fossil fuels as subsidies, which is often the consequence of corrupt practices and undue influence, he said.
In the developing South, the biggest problem is the weakness of governments that, in practice, do not respect laws on transparency or accountability, Elges said.
Edited by Kitty Stapp / Translated by Álvaro Queiruga