By Paul Homewood

Unsurprisingly, the reluctance of Western governments to deliver its pledge of an annual $100 billion transfer fund to more than 100 developing countries is threatening to unravel COP26.

“A major reason for the discord is that rich countries appear to have missed a target of $100bn in annual climate aid by 2020, creating mistrust among the 191 countries that signed the Paris agreement….”

The West’s geopolitical own goal also provides China, India and other emerging nations a rock solid reason to reject Western pressure on any new or binding commitments.

If Biden, Boris and the EU thought emerging and developing nations would simply cave to their unrealistic Net Zero demands they should think again. It’s not going to happen.

The US and EU leaders have tried and failed to square this circle for the last 30 years. It’s unlikely to go away for decades to come.

There is now a growing risk that COP26 will end in yet another COP-flop, throwing the climate campaign back to the 2009 Copenhagen fiasco.

From the FT:

Weeks of negotiations were overshadowed by cost of meeting demands of Paris agreement
Tensions over climate finance threaten to derail this year’s COP26 summit after weeks of preliminary UN deliberations yielded little agreement over how to proceed with core principles of the Paris climate accord
The downbeat conclusion fuels further disappointment about progress on halting global warming, after the G7 leaders summit in Cornwall failed to produce specific plans for new climate funding.
A major reason for the discord is that rich countries appear to have missed a target of $100bn in annual climate aid by 2020, creating mistrust among the 191 countries that signed the Paris agreement.
The shortfall in funding also sets the scene for a series of difficult discussions in November at the COP26 in Glasgow when it comes to agreeing new goals for climate finance.
“It is unlikely that rich countries hit the target of mobilising $100bn per year by 2020,” said Amar Bhattacharya, co-chair of the UN’s Independent Expert Group on Climate Finance and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, although official figures are yet to be tallied formally.
At a time when government coffers have already been emptied by the coronavirus pandemic, reaching agreement on climate finance — public and private funding to help developing countries cut emissions and adapt to climate change — is more contentious than ever.
During three weeks of tense negotiations at the UN Climate Change intersessional meetings, which concluded on Thursday, an undercurrent of discontent over climate finance stymied a number of discussions on topics such as carbon markets and transparency.
“The issue of climate finance still remains the most difficult part of all these negotiations,” said Molwyn Joseph, environment minister for Antigua. “I do not believe that particular aspect was dealt with as it should have been.” Rich countries donated around $80bn in 2018, according to UN figures.

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When the $100bn promise was made at Copenhagen in 2009, it was a classic case of kicking the can down the road, in the hope that something would come along in the meantime. Obama was of course desperate to walk away with something. Meanwhile the developing countries never expected the money to arrive, so would never have to commit to reducing emissions.

A further problem is that there is no agreed way of measuring the money given. In reality, although a figure of $80bn is given , there is very little new money provided, certainly not in the UK’s case. Instead it is simply reshuffled from other aid spending. Much of it too is in the form of commercial loans, which need repaying. Governments in the developing world certainly won’t regard any of this as fulfilling the Copenhagen pledge.

It is actually pretty easy predicting the outcome of COP26. After long hours of extra time, an “Agreement” will be announced, which will boil down to the West agreeing to targets already announced. Meanwhile the rest of the world will carry on with business as usual.

And in five years time, they will still be asking where the money is.

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June 18, 2021