Finance in the INDCs – a guide for the perplexed

8 June 2014

On the eve of the finance discussion in the ADP today, ECO has been hearing a common refrain in the hallways of the Maritim: “What could countries possibly put in the INDCs on finance (and isn’t it better to just drop the whole idea)?”.

Of course, the INDCs are not the only place in the 2015 agreement to discuss finance commitments. Parties can express collective commitments, aggregate levels and burden-sharing approaches in the agreement itself too. History has shown that aggregate targets aren’t enough, especially when they’re vague and full of loopholes. Individual countries have to commit to concrete actions that reflect their share of global efforts to stay below 2°C.

ECO will count some of the ways this can be done:

1) Developed countries and others with high capability and responsibilities could come right out and commit themselves to a concrete level of climate finance for the period in question. Most countries routinely deal with all sorts of long-term commitments as part of their budgeting process, so why not do this in the context of responding to a planetary emergency?

2) They could make commitments to the Green Climate Fund, either absolute levels, or a commitment to continue scaling up beyond a certain level in 2020.

3) They could say what kinds of new sources of climate finance they would be willing to work on developing – such as carbon pricing for international transport, financial transaction taxes, etc.

4) They could commit to enabling the reduction of a certain number of tonnes of emissions beyond their own borders, through provision of financing.

5) They could commit to shifting private and public investments away from polluting technologies and into activities consistent with low-carbon, climate-resilient development paths. This could involve creating enabling environments (in both developing and developed countries) for investment shifts, for example, through regulating pension funds and other pools of finance, etc.

ECO is confident that negotiators and financing experts will come up with many other meaningful ways to express Parties’ future finance contributions. It’s not rocket science, but it does take a willingness to commit.

No one said saving the planet would be easy.

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