It might be a happy meeting, the first round of negotiations in a year and a half. Climate diplomats from around the world haven’t seen each other for a long time, the pandemic has prevented it. Several negotiators have known each other for years and friendships have developed. But Diann Black-Layne isn’t in disharmony when she talks Monday. In addition, she talks not only about her homeland, the island nation of Antigua and Barbuda, but also about the group of island states, Aosis. And as such, it immediately raises an uncomfortable topic: money.
Early summer is usually a prepping time for climate diplomats. They meet for two weeks – usually in Bonn – to prepare for the upcoming major UN climate summit. It should take place in November in Glasgow, Scotland. This time the tour is only hypothetical, and when the lines from Suriname to Samoa are in place, the Black Line speaks on behalf of the island nations. It shows that climate change has resulted from other, richer countries. They must now also be responsible for the consequences of the climate crisis. “Rich countries should pay their fair share.” If they want to prove that they are serious about the Paris agreement, what is needed now is “adequate, reliable and achievable” funding, as Black Line demands. This is the critical question in the talks.
The first round of negotiations began long ago on a topic that industrialized countries in particular disliked. Commitments like climate neutrality by 2050 can be implemented quickly and cost nothing up front. “But what countries are really willing to provide can be counted,” says Jan Kwalzig, who is involved in climate finance at Oxfam Aid. “And yet it has always been quite a bit.”
Even at the Copenhagen climate conference 2009, financial commitments were among the dismal results. By 2020, rich countries must raise $ 100 billion annually from a “variety of sources” that must include public and private financing. For example, loans from government development banks could help initiate much larger private investments. The agreement is left open only whether it should flow 100 billion in all years to 2020, or whether it will grow gradually.
The United Kingdom is trying to impose strict financial obligations at all levels
When the OECD group of industrialized countries calculated in the winter the actual inflow, it reached $ 79 billion for 2018, an increase of eight billion from the previous year. But well below the target of 100. The volume of aid collected in 2020, for example to expand renewable energies or precautions against impending climate damage, can be roughly estimated, says Oxfam expert Kualzig. “It is very likely that it is in a hundred billion.” At this point, donor countries can likely prove to be serious about solidarity in times of climate crisis.
Great Britain’s Chief Diplomat Alok Sharma could use this guide as well. As the elected president, he must make the Glasgow summit a success for the climate. Money plays an important role in this. Because the decisions accompanying the Paris agreement not only specify $ 100 billion, but also demand that a new, higher financial target be set for the period beyond 2025. Gerd Muller, Germany’s Minister of Development, considers this necessary as well. “The climate finance target should rise dramatically from $ 100 billion a year worldwide,” says CSU man. Climate change particularly affects the poorest people. “More people than ever before are forced to leave their homes because they have lost their source of livelihood.”
The UK is currently trying to advance steady financial commitments at all levels – including hosting the G7 summit of major industrialized nations to be held in Cornwall next weekend. It is claimed that the drafts of the Final Statement already have a schedule for this. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has the support. In March, he had an informal paper distributed to the G7 countries with his priorities for the Cornwall meeting. Point 1: All G7 and other industrialized nations will have to pledge to “double their public climate financing for 2021-2024 with new commitments.”
So far, the response has been weak. In April, the new US administration pledged to double its public aid by 2024, compared to years 2013 to 2016, which is Barack Obama’s second term. But when Angela Merkel last dealt with billions in the Petersberg climate dialogue, she held back on making promises. Germany promised 4 billion euros and even contributed 4.3 billion euros in 2019. If you add private funds, they will get 7.3 billion euros in 2020. “I think this is a fair contribution from Germany,” the chancellor said.
Climate activists were horrified, as they demanded a doubling of the money. “There is no sign of the increase,” says Sven Harmling, a climate expert at Care International. The aid organization recently looked at climate finance plans in 28 countries, but none were convincing. Harmling says Germany is only in the middle of the field.