Rich nations still far from funding target ahead of Cop27

Rich countries are still far from reaching their pledge of US$100 billion a year of financing for poor nations, a report released by Germany and Canada prior to Cop27 in Egypt shows. 

It's an evaluation of the so-called Delivery Plan, under which developed countries committed more than a decade ago to mobilise that sum in public and private funds annually for climate adaptation and renewable energies in less developed countries. As the target was missed in 2020 at Cop26 in Glasgow, the nations reaffirmed their determination to reach it by 2025. 

While developed countries remain committed, they "acknowledge where more work is needed", Canada's Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault and Germany's Special Envoy for International Climate Action, Jennifer Morgan, wrote in the foreword. They added that the global pandemic and Russia's attack on Ukraine had repercussions on national economies and indebtedness, energy and food security, but that damages related to global warming posed a "life or death situation".

"Reaching the US$100 billion goal is absolutely totemic. We have to do that," Alok Sharma, the president of the Cop26 summit, who had mandated the two countries with the progress report, told reporters in a briefing Friday (Oct 28). "We do remain on track for delivery in 2023," he added. The report identified 10 areas for improvement, including bringing more transparency into the financing procedure.

The sobering assessment comes just nine days before the start of a United Nations climate summit in Sharm El-Sheikh. It's already expected that talks there will be dominated by tensions over financial matters, including failed pledges of funding as well as demands that developed nations help vulnerable countries deal with the consequences of global warming.

According to the report, only five countries - Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Norway and Sweden - have made commitments over and above last year's projections. Collectively, multilateral development banks have approved more than US$50 billion in climate finance in 2021 for low and middle-income countries. However, there are no clear plans for providing funding after 2025. 

Rich nations are increasingly looking to the private sector for money. Sharma spoke of "trillions of dollars" needed. But private finance generally comes at market rates, rather than being concessional, and it tends to be focused on climate mitigation projects such as renewable power ventures, rather than helping adaptation and resilience.

A recent calculation from Germany's Development Ministry - which covers about 88 per cent of the country's climate funding - shows that private-sector funding dropped to a minimal 170 million euros (S$238.7 million) last year from 770 million euros in 2019. The country also falls short of its public pledge of giving 6 billion euros annually by 2025. BLOOMBERG

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