The Rigors of Tracking Copenhagen's Climate Aid Pledges

Calculating how rich nations are faring in meeting their USD30 billion fast-start climate pledges in last year’s Copenhagen summit is proving to be a challenging task, says The New York Times’ James Kanter.

The Copenhagen Accord did not detail how to mobilize the funding, which experts say is much lower that what is necessary to support the creation of cleaner technologies and climate change adaptation in the developing world, Kanter argues.

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A website set up by the Dutch government has recorded climate aid pledges of some USD7.6 billion, “far short” of the USD30 billion target, Kanter says, but noted that only a few countries - including Canada, Germany, the U.K. and Norway - have participated in the project.

The Washington-based World Resources Institute, meanwhile, said pledges total about USD28 billion, but noted that some donors may have rehashed old pledges by renaming existing aid budgets or including previous climate aid commitments.

“So far, the job of calculating what governments have given has proved challenging,” Kanter writes in NYT.

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Climate experts and academicians also complain of the difficulty of comparing and deploying contributions.

There was “no specified baseline that would allow anyone to know if the promise has actually been fulfilled,” J. Timmons Roberts, director of the Center for Environmental Studies at Brown University in Rhode Island, was quoted by Kanter as saying.

About the author

  • Ma. Rizza Leonzon

    As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.