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“Real money” on the table as Green Climate Fund nears $10 billion benchmark

The Green Climate Fund will help poor nations reduce emissions and prepare for the worst impacts of climate change. Creative Commons: Solar Electric Light Fund, 2008

The Green Climate Fund will help poor nations reduce emissions and prepare for the worst impacts of climate change. Creative Commons: Solar Electric Light Fund, 2008

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is now within striking distance of raising US $10 billion to assist poor nations in reducing carbon emissions and preparing for the impacts of climate change.

The Green Climate Fund was created as part of the 2009 Copenhagen Accord. A year after the accord it was formally established at the annual UNFCCC meeting, where the world’s developed countries officially agreed to raise US$ 100 billion from both public and private sources by 2020. This money will be used to assist poor nations in reducing emissions and reducing the worst impacts of climate change

At a pledging conference for the fund in Berlin on Thursday, UN climate chief Christiana Figueres said the capitalization of the fund is one of the “wisest investments in the 21st century.” This comment came after the United Kingdom committed $1.1 billion to the GCF, joining twenty-one other nations, including the US, France, Germany and Japan, to put climate finance commitments on the table.

Four developing nations: Mexico, Mongolia, Panama and the Republic of Korea, were also part of the pledging action, leaving those nations that failed to step up, such as Australia and Poland, increasingly isolated.

With $9.6 billion pledged, the GCF remains short of the bottom end of its $10 to $15 billion goal by the end of this year, but today’s pledges are expected to provide a positive trust-building signal between developed and developing countries ahead of the UN climate meetings in Lima, Peru next month.

In the long term, the fund will play a vital role in meeting the $100 billion per year target for 2020.

While much work still needs to be done to reach both of these goals, the pledges made in Berlin represent a swift shift for the fund, which got its first contributions just a few months ago.

Now, with a number of opportunities ahead, including the Lima meetings in December, those who stayed on the sidelines during Thursday’s pledging session are being urged to help push the fund over the $10 billion mark.

The Green Climate Fund is the most high profile mechanism allowing developed countries to transfer funds to more vulnerable ones.

Developing nations have often contested that they can’t commit to cutting emissions unless developed economies honor their promise to contribute to the fund.

Prior to the Thursday’s pledging session in Berlin, the US had made headlines for announcing at the G20 summit in Brisbane, Australia, that it would be making the largest pledge yet to the Fund.

The US’s $3 billion dollar pledge was thought to add momentum to the Berlin pledging session, where the list of those financially committing to the GCF grew to encompass 22 nations.

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