Green Climate Fund: from “If and When” to “How Much”

4 June 2014

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is a cornerstone of the emerging architecture of the global climate regime. Just two weeks ago, the Board of the GCF surprised many observers when they reached agreement on the eight essential requirements for the GCF to begin to receive, manage, and disburse funds. This deprives those developed countries who bear the primary responsibility for contributing funds to the GCF, and had been holding back pending these board decisions, of an excuse to delay making substantial contributions to the fund. We now fully expect these countries to put substantial financing at the disposal of the fund by Lima, with disbursements starting in 2015.

Just what does “substantial” mean? The volume of funds must be sufficient to inspire developing country confidence in the commitment of developed countries to support climate action and inspire developing countries to put sufficient effort into creating projects and programs to make good use of this funding. It must also enable the GCF to create a paradigm shift in the transition to a low emissions, climate resilient world, and to contribute significantly to closing the mitigation gap in the pre-2020 period.

ECO wonders how serious developed countries are about the GCF, really. As soon as the GCF is fully operational, and the institutional arrangements are in place for direct access by developing countries, ECO suggests that regular contributions to the GCF increase rapidly, surpassing USD$10 billion annually. This must also scale up further to account for a substantial part of the $100 billion committed by developed countries by 2020.

ECO warns developed countries that the funds allocated to the GCF cannot simply be transferred from a static, or even worse, shrinking budget for climate finance. Rather, developed countries must scale up their overall level of finance and take full advantage of the growing interest across the developing world to pursue low carbon climate resilient development.  Many developing countries are already taking ambitious actions with their own resources, but the sum of efforts worldwide still falls short of what is necessary. Funds channeled through the GCF, as well as other sources, can magnify these efforts and leverage much greater actions. 

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