Tension in the global climate finance community is mounting as the Katowice climate change conference approaches. The September effort to advance the Paris Agreement Work Program (PAWP) exposed deep historic divides on climate finance (reported here, here and here). And though the Green Climate Fund Board thankfully “righted its ship” a bit in October (see our close look here), the relief did not ease the larger systemic angst.
At its core, climate finance is a highly political issue. For the most part, rich societies are suffering far less from climate change impacts than poorer ones, and have far more resources with which to respond to those impacts. Poor countries need substantial help from the developed world to do the same. Yet, many developed countries are not inclined to make the enormous financial investments required to address global climate change for outcomes that won’t be realized until the distant future and that will mostly benefit other countries. We get a glimpse of this reality in Climate Scoreboard’s just released Global Report #8, on which we reported yesterday.
Since the adoption of the UNFCCC, developed countries have committed to and provided some, but not nearly enough, climate finance to help developing countries meet the costs of mitigating and adapting to climate change. Their collective target of $100 billion/year by 2020, established in the 2009 Copenhagen Accords and reiterated in the Paris Agreement decision (1/CP.21), falls hundreds of billions short of predicted needs for mitigation and adaptation in developing countries. (Numbers are hard to come by, but the World Economic Forum projected a few years ago that $700 billion/year in climate investment will be required by 2020, while UNEP has estimated annual adaptation costs alone could reach $500 billion by 2050.) Additionally, many are questioning the likelihood that even the $100 billion/year by 2020 will be realized (see here, here and here).
All of this adds up to a lot at stake for climate finance in Katowice in December, where Parties have promised to bring the Paris Agreement implementation guidelines across the finish line.
One of the most contentious climate finance issues we have been tracking is whether Article 9.5 will be fully operationalized. It stipulates that developed country Parties, and others as they can, “shall” communicate, in both quantitative and qualitative terms, financial resources they intend to provide to developing country Parties (ex ante support). However, decision 1/CP.21 calls only for identifying the information Parties will report, and not the modalities to be used in accounting of those resources.
Some feel this was an oversight in the rush to adopt the Paris Agreement back in December 2015, since it is unusual for a COP to decide what Parties are to report without also deciding how the information will be reported and used. For instance, for Article 9.7, decision 1/CP.21 sets in motion identifying both the what and how Parties will report on financial resources they have provided and mobilized through public intervention (ex post support).
Developed country Parties contend that Article 9.5 is sufficiently clear and that no action is required. They want to use the existing general guidelines from 3/CP.19 for the biennial submissions they were requested to make on “scaling up climate finance from 2014-2020.” Notably, only 7 Parties and the EU made such submissions.
Developing country Parties assert that predictability and transparency are at the heart of Article 9.5 and that it must be fully operationalized by also specifying accounting modalities. In particular, Parties should decide how the information will be compiled, made publicly available, transmitted to the global stocktake, and be subject to technical review, none of which is addressed by the earlier general guidance on reporting ex ante support.
Currently, the battle for and against establishing modalities for Article 9.5 is being played out under agenda item 8a of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA).
Stay tuned for more posts on climate finance issues for COP 24/CMA 1-3. And, may all Parties show up rich in political will.