More funds expected as developing country leaders say UN deal requires strong financial package
By Ed King
Austria, Norway, Finland, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland and the UK are some of the countries expected to commit or increase their pledges to the UN’s Green Climate Fund in Berlin on Thursday.
Officials coordinating the two-day formal pledging meeting in the German capital hope it will ensure the GCF meets its target of raising US $10 billion in funds, so it can start work in 2015.
The current total stands at $7.5bn, boosted by announcements from the US and Japan at the weekend, which said they would contribute $3bn and $1.5bn respectively.
This week UK government officials told NGOs that London intends to deliver a further $1bn (£650m), allocated from its International Climate Fund.
But any new money would be unpopular with many members of Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative party, which is contesting a by-election against the climate sceptic and Eurosceptic party UKIP, meaning a pledge could be delayed.
“I also expect wealthy nations like Australia, Canada, New Zealand, those European nations who have not contributed to step forward,” said Gambia’s environment minister Pa Ousman Jarju.
“They have made commitments to finance climate actions and the time has come to fulfil them.”
An official at the German environment ministry said 22 countries were registered to attend, with ministers expected from Germany, the Netherlands, Peru and Sweden.
Delegations from New Zealand, Japan and Barbados are also travelling to Berlin, but none so far from Canada or Australia.
Canada, Spain and some Eastern European countries are likely to announce funds for the GCF, but are not expected to have their numbers ready by Berlin, RTCC understands.
The GCF is seen as a critical part of efforts to secure a global agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
Developing countries say they need extra funds to build clean energy power plants and prepare for predicted climate impacts such as floods, droughts and rising sea levels.
Without financial backing, envoys like Tosi Mpanu Mpanu from the Democratic Republic of Congo say they will not be able to commit to any UN deal next year.
“If that key is not turned, we believe we will not turn the Paris key,” he told RTCC earlier this year.
All countries that intend to give money will be required to formally announce their level of funding in Berlin, and may also list any conditions they have for investment.
The White House has already made it clear that a large part of new funds will have to be channelled through the GCF’s private sector facility.
“This is in recognition of the essential role the GCF must play in mobilizing private sector financing to scale up low-emission and climate-resilient investment in developing countries,” it said in a statement.
The US pledge of $3bn has received fierce criticism from many Republicans since it was made public, but received support on Monday from Hank Paulson, appointed Treasury Secretary by George W Bush in 2006.
In a column on his website, Paulson “urged our lawmakers” to support the fund, which he said would “create American jobs and help us deal with the massive risks of climate change”.