Climate Weekly: Who will rescue the Green Climate Fund?

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Polish firefighters help Sweden tackle wildfires, which reached an unprecedented scale this summer (Pic: EU 2018/Pavel Koubek)


Its supporters say the Green Climate Fund is too important to fail; the glue that holds the Paris Agreement together.

Privately, though, many are questioning whether it is fit for purpose. A turbulent board meeting last month brought its dysfunctions into focus.

Frank Rijsberman, head of the Global Green Growth Institute, shared with us a candid assessment of the institution’s problems. They run deep.

The solutions are less clear. Oxford University’s Benito Müller has proposed some “baby steps” to make it work better. Deeper reform may be needed.

Government ministers have yet to weigh in. Who will be brave enough to take this on?

Poland first

In a foretaste of the discourse to expect at this year’s UN climate summit, Polish trade unions hosted a “social pre-cop” meeting this week.

Defending coal mines and miners was top priority, with an emphasis on the rights of countries like Poland to exploit their natural resources.

The government-backed conference also gave a platform to American climate sceptic William Happer, who likes to assert that the build up of carbon dioxide is actually good. Hmmm.

Number of the week

46.7GW – capacity of coal power stations under construction in China, according to Coal Swarm analysis


After a two-year clampdown on excess capacity, China has quietly started building coal plants again, chinadialogue reports.

Based on analysis of satellite photos, NGO Coal Swarm estimates 46.7 gigawatts worth of construction is ongoing – a worrying sign for the climate.

Experts say an uptick in power demand is behind the renewed activity, but overall usage rates of coal power stations remain low.

Fault lines

The industry that is supposed to prevent oil spills has a fatal flaw: its instruments cannot detect small cracks in pipelines that may lead to ruptures.

In a Climate Home News exclusive, insiders told Annemarie Botzki pipeline inspection companies routinely mislead clients about their ability to spot defects.

This showed in Tracy, California, where a Shell pipeline repeatedly spilled after no fewer than three inspection companies had given it the all-clear.

Quote of the week

“I joined the business to help prevent environmental disaster and in the end I had to lie to clients that actually wanted to accurately inspect their pipelines” – former pipeline inspector

News tsunami

It is an eye-catching promise, but, well, it hadn’t caught the international media’s eye until we published it a fortnight ago.

Imran Khan’s election pledge to plant 10 billion trees in Pakistan made for one of our most-read stories of the year and rippled around the world. It shows how news sites like CHN lift important stories into the light, Karl Mathiesen blogs.

Who can argue with growing forests? Of course, Khan still has to deliver as prime minister – and the country’s anti-graft watchdog is questioning his party’s green record in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, the Express Tribune reports.

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