By David Ljunggren
OTTAWA – Developed nations are set to be three years late meeting a pledge to commit a total of $500 billion to help poorer countries tackle climate change and realize this has damaged mutual trust, Alok Sharma, the president of the upcoming COP26 climate conference, said on Monday.
Rich nations vowed in 2009 to deliver $100 billion a year for five years, starting in 2020. But a plan on how to do so, prepared by Canada and Germany ahead of the United Nations COP26 summit in Scotland, said the annual target would now not be met until 2023.
Climate finance is a crucial issue for the summit, which is aiming for more ambitious country commitments to limit warming. Failure to meet the target is a symbol of broken past promises that complicate efforts to set goals for ramping up climate aid.
“Understandably, this has been a source of deep frustration for developing countries,” Sharma told a televised news conference. “The aim of putting this plan together has been to rebuild trust … countries will need to deliver on this.”
Canada and Germany said they expected significant progress to be made in 2022 and were confident the $100 billion goal would be met in 2023.
“The data also gives us confidence that we will likely
be able to mobilize more than US$100 billion per year thereafter,” said the 12-page plan.
Environmental groups say this is not nearly enough. African nations believe the financing should be scaled up more than tenfold to $1.3 trillion per year by 2030, a key African climate negotiator told Reuters this month.
Teresa Anderson, climate policy coordinator at ActionAid International, said meeting the goal was the “bare minimum needed to build trust” in the climate talks.
“World leaders must recognize and address the glaring gap between the current $100 billion a year target and the trillions needed to tackle the scale and urgency of the crisis,” she said in a statement.
Germany’s junior environment minister Jochen Flasbarth said it was “extremely unfortunate” the goal had not been reached by 2020 as planned.
“(We) really pushed developed countries during the last weeks very hard, and not all of our conversations were very easy, to be polite,” he said.
The COP26 summit begins on Oct. 31 in the Scottish city of Glasgow.