‘Pay climate monies’: The debate over funding and developing nations
Africa accounts for 4% of global emissions, but is epicentre of climate chaos, UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres said.
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Calls by highly industrialised developed economies, which include the United States, for a just energy transition from fossil fuels to “net zero” carbon emissions by 2050 – are aimed at punishing developing global south nations, like South Africa, if their reneging on a promise to contribute $100 billion (R1.8 trillion) towards financing the Green Climate Fund (CGF) is anything to go by.
Reacting to remarks made this week in South Africa by UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres for wealthy countries to “finally keep their promises to developing countries by meeting the $100 billion goal – doubling adaptation finance, replenishing the Green Climate Fund and operationalising the loss and damage fund this year”, experts yesterday called the promises “empty”.
At the 2010 16th UN climate change conference in Cancun, Mexico, developed countries attending the Conference of the Parties (COP) pledged up to $100 billion to the Green Climate Fund to help countries around the world fight climate change and adapt to its consequences.
But since then not much has been done to help countries deal with the complexity of climate change, according to analysts.
At COP 16, where the CGF was established, the operating entity of the financial mechanism of the convention, was launched.
The GCF serves in accordance with Article 9, paragraph 8, of the Paris Agreement.
“The institutions serving this agreement, including the operating entities of the financial mechanism of the convention, shall aim to ensure efficient access to financial resources through simplified approval procedures and enhanced readiness support for developing country parties – in particular for the least developed countries and small island developing states, in the context of their national climate strategies and plans,” says Article 9, paragraph 8, of the Paris Agreement.
During his speech at the Brics leaders’ summit in Sandton, Guterres said: “On average, African countries pay four times more for borrowing than the US and eight times more than the wealthiest European countries.
“And Africa accounts for just 4% of global emissions, but is an epicentre of climate chaos. We must also drastically step-up climate action and climate justice.
“I have put forward a climate solidarity pact in which developed countries provide financial and technical support to help emerging economies – in Africa and beyond – to promote an equitable and just transition to renewable energy.
“I have presented an acceleration agenda to boost these efforts – with developed countries committing to reach net zero emissions as close as possible to 2040 and developing countries as close as possible to 2050.“
Developed countries must also finally keep their promises to developing countries by meeting the $100 billion goal, doubling adaptation finance, replenishing the Green Climate Fund and operationalising the loss and damage fund this year.
“Africa must be considered a priority in all these efforts. We will not solve our common challenges in a fragmented way. Together, let us advance the power of universal action, the imperative for justice and the promise of a better future.”
Independent political analyst Sandile Swana said: “These are empty promises by developed economies. The developed world uses these monies to change policies in global south countries aimed at benefiting the developed countries.
“That is the quagmire we are in here in South Africa, because these monies may never come. The first implication of this is that the prime polluters and destroyers of the natural environment are failing to pay for their environmental sins.
“The second implication is broken faith between UN, the global south and the developed world. Some of the biggest contributors to the fund, Japan and France, are giving this money to developing countries as loans. Grants from the UK and other countries are a pittance.”
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