There is a threat to life and livelihoods of millions of people across the globe if the developed countries fail to finance urgently needed climate action |Photo:Ninno JackJr on Unsplash

Empty Promises: Analysis reveals rich countries have no plan to fulfil their climate finance pledges

The commitments made by rich countries to deliver the promised $100 billion annually to support climate efforts in developing countries in 2009, still fall short of the target, according to an analysis by CARE- a green aid and development organization. Twenty-four national plans analysed by CARE reveals that not a single rich country provided information on what they consider their fair share of the $100 billion target and how and when they would deliver it.

Under the report titled, ‘Hollow Commitments’, CARE analyzed the most recent official finance plans submitted by 24 countries to the UNFCCC and ranked them on a point system. 

Uncertainty over commitments made by developed countries

According to the analysis, developed countries have no adequate plan in the pipeline to ensure that they would be able to fulfil their commitments.

The report points out that out of the 24 countries examined, only three countries-Luxembourg, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, have put forward a plan to increase their climate finance across multiple years.

While a majority of countries did not provide any quantitative information regarding indicative future levels of support, only five countries indicated that their finances will remain constant.

Moreover, adaptation efforts in developing countries remain severely underfunded, not only in absolute terms but also as a percentage of total climate finance, it says. There is a threat to life and livelihoods of millions of people across the globe if the developed countries fail to finance urgently needed climate action.

“Developing nations are experiencing an increased frequency and magnitude of disasters and are unable to cope, let alone thrive. If no clear finance roadmap is in place, poor countries will continue registering deaths from climate-induced disasters and the world will continue to be unequal, because this is not just about numbers, it is also about people’s lives,” said Chikondi Chabvuta, Southern Africa Advocacy Lead with CARE Malawi, at the report’s launch.

The Paris Agreement prioritises support for the least developed countries (LDCs) and small island developing states (SIDS). However, not a single rich country provided detailed quantitative information outlining the support it would provide for LDCs and SIDS.

The agreement also specifies that developed countries seek a balance between support for mitigation and adaptation.  Currently, only 25% of international climate finance is spent on adaptation and the report shows that a 50/50 balance remains out of sight, with only two countries- Ireland and New Zealand recognizing the objectives.

Additionally, the decisions under COP24 called on developed countries to provide indicative information on the gender responsiveness of their future support. As per the report, these details are “routinely lacking” and the submissions merely contain one or two lines on the issue.

What is the status of G7’s commitments?

The report reveals that no G7 country offered climate finance in addition to meeting UN development aid commitments. Only the United Kingdom (UK) made clear pledges to prioritize vulnerable countries.

While the USA and UK have announced a new, higher climate finance target in 2021 and 2019 respectively, Canada is expected to announce a new climate package soon, it states.

 According to the report, Japan has contributed the most ($ 11.02 bn) under the promised $100 billion annually followed by Germany ($ 8.13 billion) and France ($6.50 bn). However, the analysis says that Japan massively over-reports climate finance.

"If each of the G7 leaders at their Cornwall summit on 11 June does not clearly announce a significant increase in climate finance to meet and exceed their decade-old promise to provide $100 billion by 2020 and to scale up trillions of dollars for a global green recovery, it can only be interpreted as a massive breach of trust and responsibility,” said Tasneem Essop, Executive Director at Climate Action Network 

Luxembourg and Sweden are at top of the list

According to the analysis, Luxembourg and Sweden top the table but there is still room for improvement in their ex-ante reporting. Five countries- Austria, Greece, Japan, the Czech Republic and Slovakia received no points since their reports submitted to UNFCCC are extremely poor, the analysis notes.

Out of the 24 countries, 11 countries obtained only a quarter or less of the possible points. This group includes countries such as Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway- countries which usually picture themselves as leaders in international development, it states.

The report points out that only three countries – Sweden, Norway and Luxembourg -- are providing climate finance on top of the UN commitment to provide 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) as an official development assessment.

The way ahead

The analysis suggests that developed countries should make a clear roadmap and outline each countries’ fair share of the $100 billion financial pledge ahead of COP26. It advocates that the climate finance provided by developed countries should be new and additional to their commitments of official development assistance.

It also recommends that all countries, especially the G7 nations should commit to at least double their public climate finance by 2025.

“We look forward to the G7 delivering on promises to generate financial support to help poorer nations start a green industrial revolution and withstand the worsening impacts of climate change. With the covid-19 pandemic exacerbating existing challenges for our countries, international support and solidarity are especially critical right now,” said Sonam P. Wangdi, the Chair of the LDC Group. 

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