Tue. Dec 7th, 2021

Rich land leaders scramble for a $ 100 billion target for climate finance in the last week of COP26, despite growing divisions in the remaining last week of the Glasgow Climate Summit.

Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister and host of the summit, is seeking positive announcements given the blocked progress of the event, which was conspicuous by the absence of the presidents of several of the world’s biggest emitters, including China, Russia and Turkey.

Twelve years ago at the Copenhagen summit, rich nations pledged to mobilize $ 100 billion a year by 2020 to help poor countries reduce their emissions and manage climate change.

Officials and some politicians believe the target figure could be reached in 2022, although the calculation may not be formally updated by the OECD before the end of the summit.

By 2019, the figure had only reached $ 80 billion and in theory, according to the latest comprehensive study, the target would only be reached in 2023.

Last month, a report commissioned by the UK and based on OECD data by Germany and Canada found that developed countries were expected to reach a figure close to $ 97 billion by 2022.

The inability of developed countries to raise the targeted amount has been cited by developing countries as a “failure of confidence” that threatens to undermine COP26 negotiations.

The announcement last week by Japan’s newly elected prime minister Fumio Kishida of an extra $ 2 billion a year for the next five years, brought the target within reach. There were also new commitments from Italy, the UK and Denmark, although not all funding will start flowing next year.

Officials were cautious last week about whether the $ 100 billion figure had yet been reached and even whether it could be hit in the next week.

But John Kerry, the U.S. climate envoy, is one of those who believes the extra money Japan has promised will enable it to reach its 2022 target. “We get Japan on the table, the other day they promised to deliver $ 10 billion, two a year for five years,” he said late last week.

“That, when used as a guarantee, what it will be, uses $ 8 billion at the World Bank. So we are more than the $ 100 billion for the year 2022, not just 23. So there is real progress here. ”

One former COP negotiator privately predicted that the figure would be announced before the end of the summit to give more momentum to the event.

Political leaders can also shift the goalposts by insisting that the target be reached “on average” over the period 2020 to 2025.

If the target is reached, it will give Johnson a chance to issue a positive announcement before the end of the summit, marking off one of the four initial priority areas of “coal, cash, cars and trees”.

However, any such announcement will be treated with skepticism by the developing world. The OECD’s calculation on climate funding includes grants, loans and export financing credits from both public and private sources.

Many developing countries consider the definition to be too generous, and Oxfam’s calculations suggest that the actual level of climate-specific grants is around one-fifth of the OECD’s ‘climate finance’ figures once loans are taken out.

At COP26, negotiations will begin to determine how to set a target for the level of climate finance in 2025 and beyond.

Mohamed Adow, founder of Power Shift Africa, a climate charity in Nairobi, said the missing $ 100 billion had “severely damaged” confidence in the UN climate summit process.

As the negotiations began to heat up during the second week of the COP, Adow said that “the general mood is very sour, due to the failure to keep these previous promises.”

“Instead of addressing these difficult issues, we have a presidency that prefers to make extraordinary announcements outside the process,” he said. “There is no point in promising the new stuff without honoring the old one.”

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