As the UN’s Green Climate Fund board meets in Songdo, South Korea this week for a critical four-day meeting, a coalition of 250 civil society groups are warning the fund could end up backing fossil fuel industries.
In a letter to the GCF board, the groups have highlighted their “grave concern” that lax rules could mean the fund is used to develop nuclear energy, dams and coal, oil and gas projects.
This week’s meeting is expected to see the board agree on how the fund will operate – including what sectors funding will be made available to.
Launched as part of the UNFCCC, the fund aims to transfer climate finance from the developed to the developing world.
Ahead of the fund’s operational launch this week, activists – many from the poorest regions of the world – are calling for effective safeguards to ensure it is not used to support high carbon projects.
The letter read:
We are organisations, movements and communities from developing countries whose citizens bear the brunt of the most harmful consequences of climate change. The GCF is of vital concern for us as the mobilisation of unprecedented levels of finance is urgently needed as part of an immediate and strategic response to the climate crisis…
We urge you to make it an explicit policy… that the GCF funds will not be used directly or indirectly for financing fossil fuels and other harmful energy projects and programmes. We note with grave concern and alarm how other international financial institutions include these types of projects in their climate and energy financing.
The groups warn that many other international financial institutions have fallen into the trap of funding such projects – including some coal and gas plants – because they offer “lower emissions” alternatives.
Lidy Nacpil, director of Jubilee South Asia/Pacific Movement said:
We’ve seen first hand how international financial institutions include fossil fuel and other harmful energy projects in their climate and energy finance under the flawed logic of ‘lower carbon’ energy and switching to ‘lower emissions’ fuels. Financing any fossil fuels and harmful energy through the Green Climate Fund is unacceptable.
The GCF is seen as a critical part of a proposed UN climate change deal, expected to be agreed in December 2015, and has been hailed as a key opportunity to help radically shift the green investment landscape and boost low carbon initiatives in the developing world.
This week’s board meeting aims to ensure the swift and smooth launch of the fund.