The European Council of Economic and Financial Affairs (ECOFIN) agreed on a shared position on climate finance in view of the COP21. Finance Ministers on Tuesday (Nov. 10) reaffirmed EU commitment to scale up the mobilization of climate finance for the incoming years. The ECOFIN conclusions highlighted that the EU and its Member States have already scaled up their bilateral and multilateral climate finance from EUR 9.5 billion in 2013 to 14.5 billion in 2014. However, the conclusions adopted by ECOFIN did not detail the amount of resources that will be mobilized for climate actions in vulnerable countries. Moreover, Ministers did not mention the issue of ringfencing revenues from the auctioning of EU ETS to climate initiatives in poorer countries.
The Council said that the provision to increase mobilization of resources for climate actions aims to contribute to Copenhagen pledge. Indeed, at Copenhagen climate conference in 2009 developed nations agreed to mobilize USD 100 billion per year by 2020 to help developing countries to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Developed countries also set a fast start finance commitment, agreeing to mobilize USD 30 billion to facilitate climate action in developing countries over the period 2010-2012. So far, they fulfilled the fast start, by providing approximately $33 billion in new and additional public resources. A report by OECD and Climate Policy Initiative estimates that climate finance averaged USD 57 billion per year in 2013-2014.
Even if progresses have been made, ECOFIN stated more efforts are needed in order to fulfil the 2020 goal. As a consequence, the Council asked for a fair share of the burden among developed countries and also called for emerging economies to contribute to climate finance in line with their respective capabilities, circumstances and responsibilities. Among emerging economies, China recently announced to make available YEN 20 billion for setting up the China South-South Climate Cooperation Fund, aimed at supporting other developing countries to tackle climate change.
Environmental associations claimed ECOFIN’s conclusions are insufficient to help poorer nations and do not provide a strong position on the road to COP21. Wendel Trio, director of Climate Action Network Europe said: “The EU has failed to offer a credible financial support package for the Paris agreement”. Geneviève Pons Deladrière, Director of WWF European Policy Office, added that even if progresses have been made on climate actions sustaining poor countries, EU conclusions lack of clarity and transparency and may threaten confidence ahead of Paris climate agreement. Lies Craeynest, EU Climate Lead for Oxfam International confirmed that EU finance ministers are “jeopardizing a strong deal at the Paris climate conference”.
WWF, CAN and OXFAM agreed that a major risk is that the ambiguity of ECOFIN’s conclusions will undermine EU alliance with vulnerable countries. Developing indeed claimed that current financial flows from developed countries are insufficient to meet the 100 billion target by 2020, and climate finance remains among the most undefined elements to be discussed in Paris.
[Image: Tabi, a Mexican indigenous community affected by climate change. Photo credit: Oxfam International on Flickr]