A report from the humanitarian organisation CARE has claimed that the majority of the public climate finance reported by wealthy countries is taken directly from development aid budgets, despite long-standing commitments to provide new money. This is in light of the leaders of the world’s seven richest countries meeting in Germany this weekend.
Commitment to Provide Financing Worth $100 Billion a Year
At COP15 in 2009, the G7 and other wealthy nations pledged to support the global South’s efforts to adapt to and mitigate climate change with “scaled-up, fresh and additional money” worth $100 billion year by 2020.
These wealthy nations reportedly contributed $220 billion in public climate money between 2011 and 2018. Only $99 billion of this can be deemed as providing “weakly additional support for development.”
Defining New and Additional
CARE calculates the cost to be alarmingly lower at just $14 billion using a stricter definition of additionality. Furthermore, despite the fact that it would seem that climate funding has grown over time, it has actually declined during the past eight years.
In order to determine whether the reported climate money is actually “new and additional,” as promised in 2009 by the 23 Annex II Parties of the UNFCCC, CARE’s study examines data submitted to the UNFCCC.
The analysis uses two definitions because “new and additional” has no official definition.
One: Strong additionality: The amount of climate finance which has been provided on top of the long-standing international commitment made by rich countries to provide 0.7 per cent of their Gross National Income (GNI) as official development assistance (ODA).
Second: Weak additionality: The amount of climate finance which has been provided by a rich country on top of the level of development finance they contributed in 2009, the year of the COP15 climate finance commitment.
According to the research, the G7 and other wealthy nations overstated their climate finance by using flimsy definitions of “new and additional.” G7 members collectively account for 85% of the $220 billion in stated climate finance total.
Yet despite disclosing such substantial sums of money, only 0.1% of the G7 countries’ declared climate finance was deemed to be “strongly additional.”
As a result, the G7 nations have fallen short of their commitments to contribute additional development aid for the climate as well as their long-standing commitment to ODA of 0.7% of their GNI, which has received widespread international support. This over-reporting means that the G7 have overwhelmingly diverted funds intended for health, education, gender equality and poverty alleviation to climate finance.
John Nordbo, report author and Senior Advocacy Adviser (Climate) at CARE International, said: “It is quite shocking to see that the world’s leading nations do not care about their international commitments to support climate and development in poor countries.”
“Instead of being the backbone of global governance, these countries, in reality, undermine international cooperation and create mistrust in the rest of the world.”
New and Additional Financing by Luxembourg, Norway, and Sweden
Just three of the world’s richest countries — Luxembourg, Norway, and Sweden consistently provided “new and additional” climate finance on top of their existing development aid budgets.
These three countries accounted for two per cent of the rich countries’ collective GNI and provided 81 per cent of the total $14 billion.
CARE calls upon the G7 and other developed countries to follow the example of Sweden, Norway, and Luxembourg and honour their commitment to provide $100 billion of “new and additional” climate finance.
Pacifica Achieng Ogola, Director, Climate Change Directorate, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Kenya, said: “As the drought situation worsens in Kenya and across East and Horn of Africa, causing malnutrition and threatening the lives and livelihoods of about 20 million people, it is disappointing to see that developed countries still do not honour their climate finance commitments under the Convention and Paris Agreement.”
“In 2009, developed countries made a commitment to scaled up, new and additional finance to the value of $100 billion a year by 2020, unfortunately only $80 billion had been mobilised by COP26.
“Ahead of COP27 developed country parties must demonstrate that they are serious on delivering on their climate finance commitments, including doubling up finance for adaptation. It is also essential that the Glasgow dialogue on New Collective Quantified Goal on Climate Finance (post 2025) leads to enhanced international support for adaptation and loss and damage with new and additional grant-based finance which is non-ODA.”
Over the past month, G7 ministers have reiterated their existing commitment to support adaptation and mitigation efforts in the global South and to meet the $100-billion goal, which is now expected to be met in 2023.
Yet, the report reveals these endorsements are yet to be backed by adequate funds. The US, for example, is responsible for just eight per cent of the total $220 billion of reported climate finance — a mere 0.01 per cent of its GNI.
As the world’s largest economy, accounting for 24 per cent of global GNI in 2018, and as champion of the 2009 Copenhagen Accord, the US falls well short of shouldering its responsibility to provide its fair share of international climate finance.