At G-7 summit, world leaders must commit to increasing climate finance for developing countries


Courtesy of Union of concerned scientists
Through Rachel Cleetus

the G-7 Leaders Summit is underway, June 11-13, in Cornwall, UK. As the host country for this summit and the annual climate talks later this year (also known as COP26), the UK will clearly increase the need for climate action, while also addressing the COVID pandemic -19 and trade issues. A priority that must receive urgent attention: the richest nations must make concrete commitments to increase climate finance for developing countries. Here in the United States, 48 ​​groups, including the Union of Concerned Scientists, have just sent a letter to Congress calling for increased funding for climate finance in the federal budget.

President Biden. Image courtesy of the White House, via Union of concerned scientists

G7 leaders summit must prioritize climate finance

At the summit, the leaders of the G-7 countries – the UK, US, Canada, Japan, Germany, France and Italy and the EU – will be joined by invited countries that are Australia, India, South Korea and South Africa. The fight against climate change is one of the four political priorities on today’s agenda.

Ahead of the Leaders’ Summit, finance ministers from the G-7 countries met last week. The highlight of the meeting was the announcement of a commitment to an overall minimum tax rate of 15 percent for large corporations. In a report, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said: “This global minimum tax would end the race to the bottom in corporate taxation and ensure fairness for the middle class and working people in the United States and around the world.

However, in terms of climatic outcomes, the press release from the finance ministers was disappointing. There have been vague references to commitments to reach net zero emissions by mid-century and no major new financial commitments for clean energy investments or adaptation needs in developing countries, raising the stakes. for more concrete actions during the Leaders’ Summit and before COP26.

Regarding international climate finance, in particular, the text stated:

“We are committed to increasing and improving our contributions to climate finance through 2025, including increasing funding for adaptation and funding for nature-based solutions. We welcome the commitments already made by some G7 countries to increase climate finance. We look forward to further commitments at the G7 Leaders’ Summit or before COP26. We call on all Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) to set ambitious dates for the Paris Alignment before COP26, and commend their work in supporting client countries.

The unfair and aggravating balance sheet of climate impacts

Around the world, climate impacts are unfolding in terrifying and costly ways. Worsening heat waves, floods, droughts, tropical storms and forest fires are increasingly straining communities and economies.

Last month, for example, the unusual intensity Cyclone Tauktae hit the coast of Gujarat in India, after moving up the west coast causing heavy rains and flooding. The cyclone claimed the lives of more than 100 people, including 86 in an offshore oil and gas installation. Tauktae was the fifth strongest cyclone in the Arabian Sea recorded, with peak winds of 140 mph, and tied for the strongest cyclone hitting the Arabian Sea. This latest storm is part of a trend to increasingly frequent and powerful storms in the Arabian Sea that scientists have attributed to climate change, and it is expected to get worse.

And in a revolutionary new study, the researchers found that in 43 countries, 37% of summer heat-related deaths can be attributed to man-made climate change. In several countries, including the Philippines, Thailand, Iran, Brazil, Peru and Colombia, the proportion was over 50%.

The bottom line is that many developing countries that have contributed very little to the emissions that fuel climate change bear the brunt of its impacts. The wealthiest nations, like the United States, which are responsible for the vast majority of the carbon emissions accumulated to date, must take responsibility for the damage inflicted on the poorest nations.

Climate finance is also desperately needed for developing countries to make a low-carbon transition. To have any chance of limiting some of the worst climate impacts, the world will need to halve heat capture emissions by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest. IEA net-zero by 2050 The report emphasizes that this is both feasible and affordable – as long as we make proactive and intentional investments in clean energy and reduce fossil fuels now, on a global scale. This includes investments in the decarbonization of every sector of the global energy system. It also means providing electricity to the 785 million people who currently do not have access to it, and clean cooking solutions for the 2.6 billion people who need it, most of whom live in developing countries – two priorities which, according to the IEA, could be achieved by 2030 at a cost of around $ 40 billion per year and would provide enormous benefits for public health and the economy.

The scale of international climate finance needed

In 2009, during the annual climate talks in Copenhagen, the richest countries pledged to raise $ 100 billion a year to help developing countries reduce their carbon emissions and adapt to climate change. More than ten years later, they have fallen terribly short.

the UNEP Adaptation Gap Report 2020, emphasizes that “Annual adaptation costs in developing countries alone are currently estimated at around US $ 70 billion, with the expectation of reaching US $ 140-300 billion in 2030 and US $ 280-500 billion in 2050.. “

Here in the United States, the Biden administration and Congress must step up efforts and ensure that this year’s federal budget includes a significant down payment on a fair U.S. contribution to climate finance, ahead of COP26. Forty-eight groups, including the Union of Concerned Scientists, have just sent a letter to Congress, calling for an allocation of at least $ 69.1 billion for FY2022 to support critical development goals and spending at least $ 3.3 billion on direct climate change programs such as a step towards a significant increase in international climate finance.

This is a minimum threshold, and it will take much more in the years to come, including concrete actions by rich countries to recognize and respond to these overwhelming impacts of climate change facing the poorest countries. simply will not be able to adapt.

Significant reductions in carbon emissions are needed

Drastic reductions in global carbon emissions remain a key priority, especially with the latest data confirming – once again – that we are far from the track where we need to be. While the economic downturn of 2020 resulted in a brief drop in emissions, emissions are expected to increase to a record pace in 2021. Here, too, the richer nations need to do much more. The Biden administration made a important commitment, by promising to cut U.S. emissions 50 to 52 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, and we must now secure national policies to achieve this, starting with the American employment plan.

An unreasonable gap between the rich and the poor

The climate finance gap for developing countries is unacceptable. This reflects the inequality in global vaccine availability, with richer nations storing billions of excess vaccine doses even though many countries have barely received any. With the climate crisis exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic crisis, millions of lives are at risk and many more are plunged into poverty.

Much like the COVID-19 crisis, resolving the climate crisis will require collective global action. Equity is at the heart of the success of our efforts. The richest countries must both sharply reduce their own emissions linked to global warming and contribute to climate finance for developing countries.

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About Emilie Brandow

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