Rich nation promises on climate change mostly broken: Report


Just before the global meeting on climate change started Monday in Doha, Qatar, where thousands including government officials from more than 190 countries have gathered to discuss how to tackle the earth´s rising temperature and its negative effects, a greatly detailed financial analysis has disclosed that the rich nations have failed to fulfill the promises they made in past years to support poor nations.

“So far, only $23.6 billion of the $30 billion promised has been committed. And only 20 percent of the money has been allocated to projects that will help poor nations adapt to a changing climate,” mentiond the report published by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED).

The wealthier nations promised in 2009 to provide developing countries with US$30 billion by the end of 2012, and said this should be “new and additional” finance balanced between support for adaptation and mitigation activities.

They made additional pledges about transparency, governance and the need to help the most vulnerable nations first. But the countries have not even fully committed their pledges.

The study also revealed that half the support provided was in loans and the remaining was grants, which means poor countries must repay with interest the cost of adapting to a problem they have not caused.

Aside from money, the report says that rich nations have not even provided enough transparent information to prove that their contributions are really new and not just diverted from existing aid budgets.

To examine transparency in more detail, the researchers evaluated donor nations across 24 measures. On the resulting scorecard, no donor nation scored more than 67 percent.

“Without transparency about how and when rich countries will meet their climate finance pledges, developing countries are left unable to plan to adequately address and respond to climate change,” says co-author Timmons Roberts of Brown University in the United States, whose Climate and Development Lab led the research.

On these measures, Norway has performed best, providing five times its fair share. At the other end of the scale, both Iceland and the United States contributed less than half their fair share.

David Ciplet, also of Brown University, added “Only two of the ten donors we assessed are delivering their fair share of climate finance, based on their ability to pay and how much they have contributed to climate change through emitting greenhouse gases in recent decades.”

The broken promises will make it harder for developing countries to take seriously what richer nations say at the UN climate change talks that kicked off Monday in Qatar.

The poor track record of rich nations in meeting their fast-start finance pledges has raised serious concerns that these countries will also renege on their bigger promise to ensure that $100 billion flows to developing nations each year by 2020 to help them respond to climate change.

“With trust in short supply, and little time to negotiate a global response to climate change, the UN talks need an injection of goodwill,” says IIED´s Saleemul Huq. “The rich nations can provide this by making good on their past promises and showing the poorer nations that they are serious about working together to tackle this global challenge.”

Major findings of the report
Finance is not adequate
Only Japan and Norway committed their ´fair share´ of climate finance
Only one-fifth of climate finance supports adaptation in developing countries despite commitments to balance funding between adaptation and mitigation
Contributor countries are not being transparent. Only Switzerland received a ´pass grade´ in this year´s transparency scorecard
UN Climate Funds remain empty shells. Only two percent of climate finance is being delivered through the UN Climate Funds.

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