It can be a pleasant meeting, the first round of talks in a year and a half. The climate diplomats around the world did not see each other for so long, the epidemic stopped it. Many interlocutors have known each other for years and friendship has developed. But Dion Black-Lane is not in a mood of harmony when he speaks on Monday. In addition, she speaks not only for her homeland, the island states of Antigua and Barbuda, but also for the Aeosis, a group of island states. And as such, it immediately raises an uncomfortable topic: money.
The beginning of summer is usually a time of preparation for climate diplomats. They meet for two weeks – usually in Bonn – to prepare for the United Nations’ next major climate summit. It should be in Glasgow, Scotland in November. This time round is virtual only, and when there are lines from Suriname to Samoa, Black-Layne speaks for the island states. Climate change was caused by other, richer countries, she explains. And they must now also be responsible for the consequences of the climate crisis. “Wealthy states must pay their fair share.” And if they wanted to prove that they were serious about the Paris Agreement, what was needed now was “adequate, reliable and achievable” funding, the black-pick demands. This is the important question in the conversation.
The first round of negotiations in a long time begins with a topic that industrialized countries, in particular, do not like so much. Commitments like climate neutrality can be met quickly by 2050 and nothing can be spent in the first place. “But what states are really willing to give can be counted,” says Jan Kowlzig, associated with climate finance at the Oxfam aid organization. “And so far it has always been very low.”
Even at the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference, financial commitments were among the poor outcomes. By 2020, wealthy states should raise $ 100 billion annually from “a wide variety of sources”, which should include both public and private funding. For example, loans from state development banks can help to initiate very large private investments. The agreement is only left open as to whether 100 billion should flow in all the years by 2020, or will it grow gradually.
The UK is striving to implement firm financial commitments at all levels
When the OECD, a group of industrialized countries, calculated in winter how much it actually flowed, it rose to $ 79 billion for 2018, eight billion more than a year earlier. But much less than the targeted 100. How much aid was collected in 2020, says Oxfam expert Kowalzig, can be gauged by precautions to expand renewable energy or imminent climate damage, for example. “And it is very likely in a hundred billion.” At this point, donor countries can prove that they are serious for solidarity in times of climate crisis.
Alok Sharma, the chief diplomat of Great Britain, could also have used this evidence. As president-elect, he should make the Glasgow summit a success for the climate. Money plays an important role in this. Because the proposals that come with the Paris Agreement not only set $ 100 billion, but also demand a new, higher financial target for the period after 2025. German Development Minister Gerd Müller also considers it necessary. “The goal of climate finance should be to increase significantly by $ 100 billion annually worldwide,” says the CSU man. Climate change particularly affects the poorest people. “More people than ever are being forced to leave their homes because they have lost their livelihood.”
The UK is currently trying to move forward through firm financial commitments at all levels – including as host of the G7 summit of major industrialized nations that will take place in Cornwall next weekend. There is already a table for this allegedly in the draft final declaration. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has the support. In March, he distributed an informal paper to the G-7 states with their priorities for the Cornwall meeting. Point 1: All seven and other industrialized countries must pledge to “double their public climate finances for 2021-2024 with new commitments”.
So far, the response has been poor. In April, the new US administration promised to double its public aid by 2024 compared to the years 2013 to 2016, Barack Obama’s second term in office. But when Angela Merkel last signed a deal with the Arabs in the Petersburg Climate Dialogue, she avoided making promises. Germany promised four billion euros in 2019 and even contributed 4.3 billion euros. If you add private funds, you get 7.3 billion euros in 2020. “I think it’s a fair contribution from Germany,” the Chancellor said.
Climate activists were disappointed they asked for the money to be doubled. Sven Harmling, climatologist at Care International, says, “There is no trace of growth. The aid organization had recently looked at 28 countries’ climate finance plans, but hardly anyone was convinced. Germany, says Hermeling, is in the upper midfield.