Harper government fulfils promise to help developing countries address climate impacts
By Ed King
The Canadian government has revealed it will give US$265m (C$300m) to a UN fund aimed at helping the world’s poorest countries invest in clean energy technologies and cope with the effects of climate change.
The announcement came late on Thursday after a Berlin conference where nearly US$9.3 billion was pledged to the Green Climate Fund by 21 countries.
Rated the world’s 11th largest economy by the World Bank in 2013, the offer is significantly lower than other major developed countries, but will be seen as significant given the government’s recent hostility to climate change talks at the UN.
In a statement, environment minister Leona Aglukkaq said the announcement demonstrated leadership and Canada’s “commitment” to a UN climate pact, scheduled to be agreed in Paris next December.
“The Green Climate Fund’s strong focus on helping the poorest countries with adaptation and promoting private sector investment will play a key role in addressing climate change globally,” she said.
“We will continue to protect our environment and support our economy as we move towards a new climate agreement in 2015 that must include all major economies and major emitters.”
Climate finance analysts issued a cautious welcome to Canada’s offer.
“Based on our assessment of pledges per capita, Canada’s just manages to creep into the top 15,” said Amal-Lee Amin from London-based think tank E3G.
“The US$265m pledge falls short of that of Canada’s nearest neighbour the US, but is welcome nonetheless and will help reach the $10bn goal before Lima.”