Tensions over climate finance have
threatened to derail the COP26 summit
in November after weeks of UN deliberations stumbled over how to proceed
with core principles of the Paris climate
The downbeat conclusion fuels further
disappointment about progress on halting global warming, after last week’s G7
summit in Cornwall failed to produce
specific plans for new climate funding.
Rich countries appear to have missed
a target of providing $100bn in annual
climate aid by 2020, creating mistrust
among the 191 countries that signed the
Paris agreement. The shortfall sets the
scene for difficult discussions at the
COP26 in Glasgow when it comes to
agreeing new goals for climate finance.
“It is unlikely that rich countries hit
the target of mobilising $100bn per year
by 2020,” said Amar Bhattacharya, cochair of the UN’s Independent Expert
Group on Climate Finance and senior
fellow at the Brookings Institution,
although official figures are yet to be tallied formally.
At a time when government coffers
have been emptied by the pandemic,
reaching agreement on climate finance
— public and private funding to help
developing countries cut emissions and
adapt to climate change — is more contentious than ever.
During three weeks of negotiations at
the UN Climate Change intersessional
meetings, which ended on Thursday, an
undercurrent of discontent over climate
finance stymied talks on topics such as
carbon markets and transparency.
“The issue of climate finance still
remains the most difficult part of all
these negotiations,” said Molwyn Joseph,
environment minister for Antigua. “I do
not believe that particular aspect was
dealt with as it should have been.”
Rich countries donated about $80bn
in 2018, according to UN figures.
Several aspects of the “rule book”
governing the 2015 Paris climate accord
are due to be finalised at the COP26,
including how countries report carbon
emissions. Negotiators will also try to
craft rules for global carbon markets,
such as carbon offsets between nations.
Patricia Espinosa, UN climate chief,
admitted there had been a lack of
progress. “I cannot say that there was
really any breakthrough in the consultations that took place here,” she said.
The promised $100bn was “absolutely crucial” for the success of the
talks, she added.