ECO is in shock! Are we really witnessing a race to the top for the transparency of fast start finance?
After months of pestering developed countries about fast-start disclosure, the United States – a country not known for its climate leadership – says it will disclose so much information that the Dutch fast start finance website will put up ‘under construction’ signs.
Todd Stern stated at the finance meeting in Geneva that the US would undertake a ‘very detailed document’, much to the shock (and possibly horror) of its Umbrella Group colleagues.
ECO understands the US will proudly announce that much of its fast-start finance is ‘new and additional’. That’s easy to do when your previous climate finance contributions are close to zero. On the other hand, this doesn’t help the comparison of additionality of different rich country contributions. Only a fair common baseline across all contributing countries will allow that. What’s actually additional gets even more complicated because the US seems ready to double-count funds for its G8 Food Security commitment towards its fast start package.
If the EU wants to call itself a climate finance leader, a common baseline to measure ‘new and additional’ is a real test of its conviction, and would pressure other rich countries to follow suit. That’s the race to the top these talks actually need. ECO would like to remind parties that disclosure and transparency is the first step towards creating accountability and confidence.
Whilst the EU worries about being put in the shade by the US report, they have an opportunity to reclaim their leadership on climate finance by agreeing internally a fair and common baseline for additionality and proposing it for adoption by all parties in Cancun. ECO understands the EU has considered a common baseline proposal to be included in the EU Fast Start Finance report which could nudge the US to the same starting position. We’ll know when that report is finalised by mid-November.
Finally, developed countries have no leg to stand on regarding MRV of actions if they cannot be transparent in their support. We will know more in Cancun about US and EU commitment to transparency of both sources and uses of their fast start
finance, and that will be the time to check in on whether the Brollies have taken heed as well. So stay tuned to your fast start finance channel right here in ECO!