Wednesday, November 20, 2013

COP 19: Progress Needed on the Green Climate Fund

Climate delegates representing poor and developing countries are asking wealthier nations to honor their commitments and support climate finance and the Green Climate Fund in particular. They require financial help to deal with extreme weather events alongside assistance to reduce their carbon emissions. Given the fact that the developed world is largely responsible for current levels of atmospheric carbon, it stands to reason that they should be ready to aid the developing world to manage the climate crisis.

Naderev “Yeb” Saño, lead climate negotiator for the Philippines said at the outset of COP 19, “We call on this COP to pursue work until the most meaningful outcome is in sight,” he continued. “Until concrete pledges have been made to ensure mobilization of resources for the Green Climate Fund. Until the promise of the establishment of a loss and damage mechanism has been fulfilled; until there is assurance on finance for adaptation; until concrete pathways for reaching the committed 100 billion dollars have been made; until we see real ambition on stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations. We must put the money where our mouths are.”

Wealthier nations have pledged to provide $100 billion in annual climate assistance starting in 2020 via the Green Climate Fund, but thus far very little has been forthcoming. “We have not seen any money from the rich countries to help us to adapt,” Saño said. And some delegations in Warsaw are seeking more funding still, to compensate developing countries for the damage caused by climate disasters.

As explained by Ms. Figueres, “We must clarify finance that enables the entire world to move towards low-carbon development. We must launch the construction of a mechanism that helps vulnerable populations to respond to the unanticipated effects of climate change. We must deliver an effective path to pre-2020 ambition, and develop further clarity for elements of the new agreement that will shape the post-2020 global climate, economic and development agendas”.

If wealthy nations don’t come through with significant funding, hopes of meaningful global climate cooperation could be doomed. And if the world doesn’t cooperate on climate change, greenhouse gas emissions will keep spiraling up, pushing global average temperatures up more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.7 Fahrenheit) compared with preindustrial times. That would not only mean worse typhoons for the developing world — it would mean worse hurricanes, droughts, fires, and floods in the U.S. and across the world.

© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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