Complex discussions about money overshadowed the negotiations at the United Nations climate conference in Glasgow. The fact that rich countries have not fulfilled their previous financial promises upsets the poorer part of the world. Representatives of some countries say that without a solution to this matter, it will be impossible for the climate summit to be “successful”.
“Climate conferences show a history of false promises and broken promises by rich countries,” said Bolivian researcher Diego Pacheco Balanza, for example.
The failure to deliver on a twelve-year-old promise to make $100 billion a year available to poor countries from 2020 onwards is particularly frustrating. With this money, vulnerable countries can be helped to cope with the effects of climate change. Earlier this year, a Inventory by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (based on promises up to 2019) which has raised nearly $80 billion.
Before Glasgow, it was already clear that the remaining amount would not be on the table now either. However, several countries promised additional funds. For example, the European Commission announced yesterday that it will contribute an additional 100 million euros ($115 million) to the Adaptation Fund. “We all have to get down to business, now,” said European Commissioner Timmermans. He added that those who need the money should also know where they are.
The fact that past financial commitments have not been met undermines the negotiation process, says Dutch Peter Bao, a climate finance specialist at the School of Finance and Management in Frankfurt. It also has implications for negotiations on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, he said.
“The majority of the climate goals that developing countries have committed to are tied to conditions: We will reduce our emissions, but then we want financing first,” Bao says. “You could say this is a dirty game, but from the perspective of poor countries, that’s understandable.” Because they are the least responsible for the emissions that cause climate change, but they are the hardest hit by it.
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