Climate Finance Programs Reap $41 Billion in Pledges in Paris

Industrial countries and the United Nations are shining a bit more light on how a key pledge to boost climate-related finance will reach $100 billion by 2020.

Three separate announcements set out plans for $2.75 billion to flow to poorer nations. That’s dwarfed by the at least $38 billion that six development agencies pledged in support for the 2020 climate-aid goal, and those programs have the potential to leverage billions more from other groups.

More is likely to be announced during the remainder of the UN climate talks, which opened Monday in Paris and are scheduled to run until Dec. 11. More than 190 nations are involved, and industrial countries have committed since 1992 to help developing nations cover the costs of climate change.

Underscoring the tension between richer and poorer nations over when the aid would flow, South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma said industrial countries are morally bound to act.

‘Historical Responsibilities’

“We urge the developed countries, given their historical responsibilities, to take the lead and honor their existing commitments,” Zuma said Monday. “Climate finance must be scaled up. Should the developed nations fail to play their part, an impression will be created that the climate-change crisis was caused by a few privileged nations who are not sympathetic about this impact on the majority.”

At past UN climate meetings, that $100 billion in financing has seemed like an elusive goal, and stood as a significant divide between industrial and developing nations. It’s now more likely, according to French Finance Minister Michel Sapin.

“Given the pledges we’ve received, reaching the $100 billion goal is perfectly within reach,” Sapin said. The $100 billion is a “floor” that may be looked at every five years as greenhouse gas targets are reviewed.

Following is a list of commitments nations made to support climate-related programs at the United Nations global warming talks in Paris:

  • Eleven countries pledged to donate $248 million to the Global Environment Facility, which will channel money to the least developed nations for climate-related projects. It will protect 17 million of the most vulnerable people, according to a statement from the facility. The donors were Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.K. and the U.S.
  • Four European countries – Germany, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland – announced a $500 million program to incentivize large-scale greenhouse-gas emissions cuts in developing countries. The World Bank is working with the countries to develop the program called the Transformative Carbon Asset Facility. It will help poorer nations to measure and reduce their emissions. The fund is due to start working in 2016 with an initial contribution of $250 million from the main donor nations.
  • UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon started a Climate Resilience Initiative aimed at helping 634 million people who live in areas at risk of coastal erosion as sea levels rise. More than 30 countries will get $2 billion in coverage against drought, floods and cyclones, including $500 million to adapt to the impacts of climate change. About 150 million in Africa will be indirectly insured by the program, which is sponsored by 13 UN entities including the UN Environment Program and the Food and Agriculture Organization.
  • The African Development Bank pledged to triple annual climate financing to $5 billion by 2020, and its Asian counterpart said it would more than double its spending to $6 billion in the same year. The World Bank said it would increase by a third its commitments to climate change which at current funding levels would mean $16 billion a year, with the potential to leverage an additional $13 billion from other funders.
  • The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development promised an average of $4 billion a year for the next five years, and the European Investment Bank said 35 percent of its climate funding of $100 billion over the period will go to developing countries -- or roughly $7 billion a year.
  • The Inter-American Development Bank said it would double climate finance by 2020, without providing figures.

– With assistance from Gregory Viscusi.

©2015 Bloomberg News

Lead image: WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 4, 2014 -Jacob Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa, speaks at a National Press Club Luncheon. Credit: Albert H. Teich /

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