Climate Politics, Green Fund, Road to COP21

Green Fund: Who deserves the climate medals?

This article is written by Clément Bultheel.

CliMates’ breakdown and perspective on the Green Climate Fund countries’ pledges funds

While climate talks in Lima almost took the negotiation process at the edge of chaos, ending on a minimum consensus, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) exceeded the 10 billion USD pledges funds, to stand now at $10.2 USD. Indeed, the $10 billion target set during the September 2014’s Climate Summit in New York had been surpassed in December 2014, during the COP20 in Lima. Yet, 28 countries have already contributed to the international fund.

In order to clarify which countries made the biggest pledges funds in consideration with national data and issues, we have compared the funds pledged to the Green Climate Fund with the respective GDP and the current greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions both for the year 2011. In this article, we will not make the difference between additional finance or not, loan or donation, as we lack of analysis capability and because countries’ pledges funds are not transparent enough on these details.

The United States provided for the biggest amount of funds with a 3 billion USD pledge. The Obama’s administration said they would contribute to 30 % of the GCF’s initial capitalization in the coming years. This commitment has been complied at this point, but will it still be the case when the GCF will be more funded than today? Nothing is less certain. Meanwhile, and as most of the developed countries, the US brings positive signals for the climate talks on the road to COP21, while China and many developing countries still do not seem to want to pledge any fund for the GCF.

infog GF 1Countries pledges in millions US$ (excluding Indonesia’s pledge of 0,25M US$) – Source: The Carbon Brief (10th December 2014)

During a meeting with Ms. Hela Cheikhrouhou in Lima, the executive director of the GCF, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, emphasized the importance of the fund in building trust and confidence between developed and developing countries. That is precisely the purpose of this first wave of pledges: by funding the GCF, developed countries intend to show their good will and their desire to cooperate with developing countries in a global action against climate change.

But if it is clear that funding pledges came almost exclusively from developed countries, efforts are proportionally not the same among these countries. Thus, only eight developed countries have announced their intention to allocate contribution to the GCF for a total funding amount representing more than 0.02% of their GDP. And the US is not one of these countries.

The Scandinavians countries (Sweden, Norway & Finland) are as usual on the top of the list. With 580 million USD pledged to the GCF, Sweden is actually the country which made the highest effort compared to its current GDP – more than 0.1% of its 2011 GDP. At the same time, by pledging to the GCF, Sweden is, regarding to its GHG emissions, putting an equivalent price on carbon of more than $15/ton carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). In a comparable situation, Norway’s pledge of $280 million represents a 9.8$/ton CO2e and 0.05% of its GDP. Still regarding to their GHG emissions, France, UK and Switzerland are at 2$/ton CO2e, four others countries are approximately to 1$/ton CO2e, and all the others countries’ pledges funds represent less than 1$ per ton of carbon.

 infog GF 2  Infog GF 3
 Percentage of GDP pledged to GCF – Source: CliMates Dollar pledged to GCF per ton of CO2e emitted in 2011 (dollar/ton-CO2eq) – Source: CliMates

These indicators can be a better way to account for each country responsibility regarding to climate finance. From this point of view, we can say that pledges funds of Australia (165M USD), Spain (150M USD), South Korea (100M USD), or Austria (25M USD) are not sufficient. Worst, Czech Republic only pledged 5.5M USD (0.0025% of its GDP and an equivalent 0.04$/t CO2e). Obviously, national circumstances must take into account wide criteria than those two, but as an EU country, this Czech pledges funds seems particularly low. Same for New Zealand, a developed and green country, which only pledged 3 million USD (0.0018% of its GDP, a 0.05$/ton CO2eq pledge).

Beyond the developed countries’ participation, which have almost all already pledged to fund the GCF, it is important to emphasize pledges funds made by developing countries. Mexico (10M USD), Peru and Colombia (6M USD each) made the biggest pledges funds among the developing countries. We are all aware in this story that as historical responsibility remains to developed countries, the biggest efforts have to be done by themselves. But as current responsibility is also up to a few developing countries, funding is also a duty for the emerging countries.

All biggest GHG emitters should provide funds for the GCF, especially China, but, for the moment, efforts from developing countries remain different from those made by developed countries. Therefore, it is very important that some developing countries contribute to the GCF, if only to give positive signals. In the meantime, pending new funds, it might be preferable if everyone’s efforts could be highlighted, as all pledges funds contribute to the construction of a global movement.


About the author: Clément Bultheel is studying international relations at ILERI in Paris. At the COP19 in Warsaw, he integrated the French climate delegation as a Young Delegate. He joined recently the CliMates’ negotiation tracking team, and had the opportunity to join the French climate delegation as an intern for the summer of 2014, in particular with a view to preparing the COP21.

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