Pages home > Penny-pinching risks global climate deal success in 2015, France says

Penny-pinching risks global climate deal success in 2015, France says

Rich states that bean-count their climate aid contributions are threatening the prospect of a climate deal being agreed in Paris next year, French leaders say.

By 2020, a $100bn-a-year (£62bn-a-year) green climate fund has been pledged to help poor countries cope with the effects of climate disruption. And the UN has set itself a fundraising target of $10bn (£6.2bn) for the end of this year.

But so far, just $2.3bn (£1.4bn) has been banked, despite pledges of $1bn (£620m) each by France and Germany at a UN climate summit in New York last month.

The former French prime minister, Laurent Fabius, told a conference in Paris on Saturday that even though the meeting hosted by Ban Ki-Moon had been positive, “the financing commitments were just not there”.

“It is fine and dandy to have these summits but a lot of countries still need to contribute funds,” he added.

Nicolas Hulot, the country’s special envoy on climate change, told the Guardian that the matter would have to be settled well before next year’s summit, if a successor deal to the Kyoto protocol is to be thrashed out.

Otherwise, “this will put the multilateral process at risk because of legitimate defiance by the most vulnerable countries in the global south,” he said. “Anyone can understand why countries which are victims of natural events – for which they are not responsible – expect minimal solidarity from states that have the capacity to contribute. Their defiance is understandable. If we want to have them around the table in 2015, we need first to make clear what our financial commitments are. For my part, I consider it an absolute precondition.”

Many poor countries have expressed concerns about counting private sector finance in the proposed international fund, fearing cherry-picking and profit-taking by companies with little interest in their plight.

Hulot said this was a valid perspective because of past experience and “for the respective proportion of grants and loans, I tend to think that 50-50 would be something quite realistic”.

Most climate funding promises to vulnerable countries made at the Copenhagen summit in 2009 were not kept, he noted, and unblocking the process now would require commitments from the world’s richest states.

“The first country on my priority list is the US,” Hulot said. “I can well understand the difficulty of a legally binding agreement for the US but its hard to understand why president Obama came to the New York summit without any announcement on this matter. Everyone knows that on financing, this is the main bottleneck to enable other states to come forward.”

The French goal is a universal and legally binding treaty in 2015, with a “differentiated approach” that takes account of development criteria. But no decision has yet been taken on whether a deal based on national commitments could be accepted.

Climate action foot-draggers such as Russia, Canada, Japan and Australia will be presented with reasoning from the US department of defence, which shows that global warming poses a threat to geopolitical security on a par with terrorism.

The EU’s outgoing climate commissioner, Connie Hedegaard, told the conference that a European summit later this month would be a vital staging post on the road to Paris.

“It is essential that our leaders on 23 October get their act together and agree on the climate and energy targets for 2030 so that investors know where they’re going,” she said. “Don’t be mistaken; if we don’t do this in October, no one thinks it will happen in December, when the EU discusses economic strategy so then you are into the first quarter of 2015 and the EU will not be able to pull its weight in the runup to Paris.”

Last updated 895 days ago by Wilbur Lung