Climate finance: 'The elephant that's not in the room' in Bonn

A view of the meeting hall of the United Nations climate change conference in Bonn, Germany. Photo by: UNFCC / CC BY

Environment ministers are meeting this week in Germany to focus on hashing out the details of a post-2015 climate agreement and other issues, but will not talk about climate finance.

Discussions on climate funding will be left to the sidelines and informal negotiations of the meeting, the first since last year’s summit in Doha.

“It’s the elephant that’s not in the room,” Oxfam’s climate change policy adviser Tracy Carty told Devex.

Calls for more climate funding have been increasing amid reports of the escalating impact of climate-related disasters around the world. Developing countries, which usually bear the brunt of these catastrophes, have been calling on rich nations to finance climate adaptation efforts.

But funds for climate finance remain in a limbo. Fast-start finance ended in 2012, but developed countries failed to make any collective commitment on climate funding for the next two years. How they will reach their commitment to provide $1 billion a year by 2020 also remains unclear.

“Unless we see progress on climate finance, negotiations toward an effective 2015 outcome will stall (…) It’s crazy [that climate finance] is not part of the agenda,” Carty argued.

To-do list

Climate funding isn’t entirely forgotten, though. Another meeting in June is expected to discuss long-term financing for climate mitigation and adaptation efforts.

At that event, developed nations need to state how they plan to scale up public sources of climate finance.

There’s been a lot of talks on leveraging private sector funds, but Carty said that’s not enough. “The most vital adaptation activities won’t be met with private finance,” she argued.

Some options for public finance include using financial transactions tax or fossil fuel sibsidies.

Developed nations also need to agree to spend 50 percent of climate funds on adaptation efforts, Carty noted. And financing for the Green Climate Fund  which she stressed remains the best platform to channel climate funding at the moment  also needs to finally flow in 2013.

“It’s been 3 years since it was established, but there’s still no money in it [and] it can’t be left an empty shell for the fourth year in a row,” concluded the Oxfam official.

Read more development aid news online, and subscribe to The Development Newswire to receive top international development headlines from the world’s leading donors, news sources and opinion leaders — emailed to you FREE every business day.

About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.