Can this finance ministerial create the much bigger change the world needs?

20 November 2013

So here we are at the first ever finance ministerial.  With the ‘climate crunch’ rapidly exposing our economies to the risks of climate change and economic downturn, the stakes have been raised.  Parties have agreed on the need for action, put in place the institutions and frameworks, but there is one essential ingredient missing: finance.

Climate impacts are accelerating and multiplying as they rush through our global economic system.  We all know that the lack of finance is blocking progress – both in action on the ground and in  negotiating a stronger global climate  deal. 

The UNFCCC is the central multilateral framework for tackling climate change, and finance is key to powering the process. The refusal of developed countries to make clear commitments on finance is sapping the life out of the negotiations, just as much as the failure of the same countries to reduce their emissions.

For all countries to work together, regardless of their status as developing and developed, promises  must be upheld.  The finance gap is blocking progress on REDD+, draining down the Adaptation Fund, threatening  to make the GCF another empty shell, and  providing the perfect justification for ensuring the threadbare ADP text remains devoid of content. 

Of course, there is money in the system.  But it’s going in the wrong direction. Just as one example, this year the OECD told us that fossil fuel subsidies comprise 5 times the amount of funds provided for climate finance.

The promised mobilization of US $100 billion per annum by 2020 is a big step toward fulfilling the mandate of the Convention.  Without it, we cannot succeed.  At this historic moment, the first financial ministerial must demonstrate predictability, credible scaling up and commitment.  If all we see is a scattering of pocket change, we’re all wasting our time.  

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