Berlin to host UN climate finance summit in November

Green Climate Fund plans “resource mobilisation” meeting in German capital to hit US$10 billion target for 2014

By Ed King

The UN-backed Green Climate Fund has announced plans for a two-day “pledging” conference where it hopes to radically boost its current stocks of capital.

Developed and developing countries have been invited to the meeting, which will take place in Berlin on November 19-20, two weeks before high level UN climate talks start in Lima.

The GCF is on record as wanting US$10 billion of backing from governments by the end of 2014, but so far it has just $2.3 billion banked.

France and Germany have both offered $1bn, while Mexico, South Korea, Norway, Sweden and Denmark have all donated smaller amounts.

The result of the Berlin meeting will set the mood for the subsequent Lima summit, where envoys plan to formally draft a text outlining how a new global climate treaty could work.

Without extra cash, developing and emerging economies are unlikely to agree to significantly curb their greenhouse gas emissions.

They say they need financial help to invest in cleaner energy systems and prepare for future climate impacts.

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In 2010 rich countries agreed to supply US$100 billion a year by 2020, but the required levels of investment are closer to US$1 trillion, according to UN climate chief Christiana Figueres.

Gambian environment minister Pa Ousman Jarju, who also speaks for the 48-strong least developed countries bloc at climate talks, said he had been disappointed more money was not forthcoming at UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon’s recent New York summit.

“I was expecting a minimum of US$10 billion,” he told RTCC.

Many countries appear to be holding out until the results of a GCF board meeting later this month become clear. They want greater assurances over transparency and how their funds will be used.

Responding to a freedom of information request, a UK official said the government was still considering how much it would give.

“The UK has already contributed £3 million to setting up the Fund, and is now actively engaged in the initial resource mobilisation process,” they said.

“The UK is currently considering a potential significant pledge, and we aim to conclude our internal approvals process by the Lima UNFCCC Conference of the Parties.”

But Tim Gore, Oxfam’s policy lead for food and climate change said there could be no excuses for developed countries not delivering funds in Berlin.

“People on the front lines of the climate crisis are looking to countries like the UK, US, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand and Japan to make good on their long-standing promises of financial support,” he said.

“If they do, and the fund swells to the 15 billion dollars it needs in its first years, then governments will arrive for the next round of UN climate talks in Lima with renewed trust that a new deal will stick. Any government that shows up empty-handed will be held to account in the court of global public opinion, where they should expect a very rough ride.” 

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