OTTAWA – Canada and Germany are making “a lot of progress” in convincing rich countries around the world to spend more money to help developing countries fight climate change, Environment Minister said on Friday Jonathan Wilkinson.
Canada’s Environment Minister is in Italy this week for final set-up discussions to set the agenda for the 2021 United Nations climate conference in Scotland next month, known as of COP26.
Talks include a deadline for countries that have signed the Paris climate accord to show more ambitious plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions, time is running out to slow climate change before it hits becomes irreversible.
But it is just as essential to have the necessary funds to implement these plans.
More than 10 years ago, the richest countries agreed to collectively raise $ 100 billion a year in climate finance by 2020 so that developing countries can afford to both adapt and mitigate climate change.
The world’s most developed countries are responsible for the vast majority of emissions that currently cause global warming at unsustainable rates, while the least developed economies are the least responsible for climate change and cannot afford to act alone.
The OECD reported last month that developed countries were $ 20 billion below the target of $ 100 billion. Wilkinson and German Secretary of State for the Environment Jochen Flasbarth agreed in July to lead a charge to close this gap before the start of COP26 talks.
Wilkinson said on Friday that Flasbarth initially described the task as “mission impossible”. But after the pair had spent most of the last two days in Milan in nearly a dozen bilateral meetings with some of the richest countries in the world, Wilkinson said there had been movement.
“I would say we have made a lot of progress and certainly Germany and Canada are working very hard to make sure that we can and will meet the $ 100 billion commitment,” he said during a press conference call from Milan on Friday afternoon. .
He later confirmed that although no new cash pledges have been announced so far, a number of countries have assured him that there will be new pledges ahead.
Part of the gap had already been closed before the last push.
At the G7 leaders’ summit in June, Canada pledged to double its funding to around C $ 1 billion per year for the next five years and Germany pledged to increase its annual contribution by a third by 2025, to over US $ 7 billion.
Last month, US President Joe Biden said he would double the US contribution to $ 11.4 billion by 2024. The US had canceled much of its climate finance under former President Donald Trump , which had also withdrawn the United States from the Paris agreement.
Wilkinson said the US return to Paris had already made “a huge difference” and that US financial commitment was “essential for us to meet that $ 100 billion target.”
Eddy Pérez, head of international climate diplomacy at Climate Action Network Canada, said the task Canada and Germany have agreed on is a “huge hot potato” that could ultimately make or break the negotiations for push the world to do more, faster to slow climate change.
Wilkinson and Flasbarth plan to release a report documenting what was promised and how to get the rest, by the third week of October.
“It is not yet certain that they will be able to come up with a plan that will be sufficiently credible,” Pérez said in an interview with The Canadian Press.
The environment and climate ministers of Costa Rica and Grenada said in an editorial published in July that meeting promised climate finance targets was the only way for countries like theirs to have “a fair chance. for a resilient future “.
Money itself is only part of the puzzle. The type of funding provided is also critical. Oxfam said last year that 80% of wealthy governments’ climate finance was in the form of loans instead of grants.
Other studies have shown that there is a desire to fund climate mitigation projects like clean energy, which can provide a return on investment, and less interest in funding infrastructure projects to help the poorest countries to protect themselves from the impact of the already changing climate. These projects are generally the most expensive with no clear return on investment.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on October 1, 2021.
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