Green Climate Fund
Although it’s a while ago, this blog in a way links to my previous blog. Relatively positive about nuclear energy, it ended with the question (and a small discussion in the comments) about money. As we all know money is important for reaching a sustainable future, and as we all know a lack of this tool can be a limitation for many ambitious efforts. The discussion about climate funding is relevant on the level of your neighbourhood to the level of your continent. And since climate change doesn’t even respect continental borders, global cooperation on this issue is vital.
Cancun, Mexico, 2010 The United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP) decides to establish the Green Climate Fund. Three years later the headquarters is completed in Songdo, South Korea. One year after that USD 10 billion was raised for investment resources and at the famous Paris COP it was officially given a primary role in financing the battle against climate change. Its main focus is to help developing countries take climate action.
Since it started approving projects in 2015 the Fund has approved USD 5.0 billion of climate funding. According to their data there are now 97 developing countries with approved projects. But despite these positive sounding numbers, announced proudly on the Fund’s Twitter account, criticisms are not to be ignored.
Billions of useful dollars in the Green Climate Fund have to be approved by 24 Member States unanimously. This means that international politics are bound interfere with the combat against climate change. Although a commendable idea, making the Fund’s Board structure this democratic has caused significant troubles. During a peak in the US-China trade war, a USD 100 million loan to China for green development was approved by everyone except the US representative. Moreover, less than 10% of the approved funding has actually been transferred. Besides this, extensive application documents have to be filled out, in some cases taking over a year to be approved. Developing countries have even announced they lack the human and financial resources to complete these documents, leaving the Green Climate Fund unreachable for those who most need it.
This international financing body was designed to promote transformational change. Many developing countries have put their faith into the Green Climate Fund, making the USA withdrawal a worrisome development. As underlying political issues continue to steer the seemingly technical discussions, the Fund struggles to unlock its full potential.
For me as a Stormer it sometimes feels like mitigating climate change is on everyone’s mind and is a priority for an ever-increasing amount of people. It is therefore important to note that the (less unexpected) US withdrawal was followed by Australia, leaving another USD 200 million gap in climate funding.
Although international bodies can sound like an abstract concept, they have great potential to influence the efforts Stomers will be making during the coming decades. Underlined by the issues in the Green Climate Fund, it is important we keep an eye on the international community.