UN Seeking Astronomical Climate Funding

UN Seeking Astronomical Climate FundingUN Seeking Astronomical Climate Funding

The most devastating impact of climate change will be felt mostly by the world’s poorest nations.

To meet the impending threats—which will destroy countless human lives and ravage agricultural crops—the United Nations is seeking a hefty $100 billion per year by 2020 as part of a Green Climate Fund aimed at supporting developing countries strengthen their resilience and help adapt themselves to meet the foreboding challenges, IPS reports.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a high-level meeting on climate change last week that he will proactively engage with leaders from both the global north and south to make sure this goal is met and considered credible by all.

GCF, headquartered in Incheon, South Korea, must be “up and running”, he said, with funds that can be disbursed before a key meeting on climate change in Paris in December.

Asked if the ambitious 100-billion-dollar target was realistic, Lisa Elges, head of Climate Policy at Transparency International, said, “The more practical question is: How can he achieve the target?”

Public purses are stretched, yet public finance is still necessary. And if you want to involve the private sector, you need public finance to give subsidies and attract and leverage private investments, she added.

Elges said one “untapped” source of finance could be the crackdown on illicit financial flows.

For example, if countries tackle money laundering, they can make more taxable money available to address the world’s environmental and development needs.

To put the $100 billion in perspective, Elges said, $1,000 billion are lost annually in illicit financial flows losses, including corruption, bribery and tax evasion.

“When the corrupt lose, the people and planet will gain,” she said.

Corruption is a global phenomenon: It affects all countries, albeit in different ways and it can affect every aspect of life, including our global response to climate change, she declared.

Asked if there is a UN role in battling corruption in climate change, Elges said climate change, human rights and transnational crime are all covered by UN treaties and compliance bodies.

  Three-Step Plan

Michael Westphal, a senior associate in the Sustainable Finance Team at the World Resources Institute, says a politically feasible path to reach the target in international climate funding by 2020 is to include a larger set of climate finance sources and scaling up all public finance.

Reaching the 100-billion-dollar target is possible, but it will take a huge concerted action by public actors to use public finance to leverage private sector investment.

In paper on climate funding, WRI discusses a number of recommendations.

Firstly, developed nations should commit to increasing all public funding flows to 2020.

This includes developed country climate finance as reported to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (mostly finance through bilateral channels), multilateral development bank climate finance and climate-related official development assistance.

Secondly, developed countries should consider using new and innovative sources of finance toward the 2020 goal, including redirected fossil fuel subsidies, carbon market revenues, financial transaction taxes, export credits and debt relief.

And thirdly, parties should clarify the definition of climate finance and development of methodologies, including those for calculating and attributing leveraged private sector investment, to improve accounting and reporting.