Money is supposedly the root of all evil, and it’s certainly an issue that’s been front and centre in the Paris climate summit negotiations. Many of the world leaders identified the need to support vulnerable nations and peoples at the COP21 opening. The argument since then has boiled down to who pays for what – specifically, how much should the historic emitters (the developed nations) pay, what level of past responsibility, they should bear, and what leeway the developing world should be allowed, in terms of emissions, to bring their people out of poverty.
Who should pay?
What the developed countries say: The industrialised nations have pledged to deliver $US 100 billion (A$ 136 billion) a year for the next five years to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to help the developing world cut emissions and prepare for the impacts of global warming. 50% of all adaptation funding is slated to go to the most vulnerable nations, such as Pacific Islands and African nations.
The GCF also offers a wide range of financial tools to support low emissions projects worldwide, including grants, loans and equity arrangements. Projects are intended to focus emission reductions in transport, land use, cities and energy generation, as well as increasing resilience to climate change and its impacts on ecosystems, food supply, urban areas and livelihoods.
What the developing nations say: The pledge is not being taken seriously and the pot of money needs to be increased in exchange for taking on more long-term responsibility for cutting emissions. In particular, developing countries need up front finance to build renewable energy infrastructure.
Who bears responsibility – now and in the future?
What the developed countries say: Any solution to climate change cannot occur without stronger action from major emerging economies (such as India and China) because they are now responsible for about one half of current global emissions, and rising fast.
What the developing nations say: The west is responsible for the bulk of historical emissions and the less-developed nations need room to expand their emissions to bring their people out of poverty.
Where is the argument at?
The draft agreement (as of Thursday, 21.00 Paris time) states that developed countries are to take the lead and provide financial resources. Negotiators are currently discussing whether this is to be new and/or scaled up. Other Parties (developing countries) may provide voluntary support including via south-south cooperation initiatives. US$ 100 billion per year is the minimum to be provided for mitigation and adaptation efforts and financing will be periodically reviewed.
by: Prof. Lesley Hughes and Martin Rice.
Comité de Paris, Photo from Flickr user UNclimatechange CC BY 2.0