Rich Nations Claim Progress in Climate Finance Goal

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By Rick Mitchell

Sept. 8 — Wealthy countries are making progress toward the crucial goal of raising $100 billion in climate finance for developing countries by 2020, but more transparency and a better calculation method is needed, 18 countries and the European Commission said after meeting this weekend in Paris.

The U.S. and Switzerland hosted senior officials from 18 countries during two days of talks in a “climate finance ministerial,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement.

The meeting followed the latest round of United Nations climate negotiations, which wrapped up in Bonn, Germany, amid signs of compromise emerging on the key issue of loss and damage, but with widespread criticism that negotiations are still moving too slowly.

The Sept. 5–6 U.S.-Swiss-sponsored ministerial also overlapped with a second informal climate ministerial held by France Sept. 6–7. France said it brought together 57 countries to search for compromises to help produce a final text to be considered at the United Nations climate talks in Paris at year's end. France has warned that lack of a precise financing deal could doom those talks, which are scheduled to begin Nov. 30.

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The joint statement from the 18 countries cites progress on “mobilizing” $100 billion a year by 2020 from a variety of sources, public and private, bilateral and multilateral, including alternative sources of finance.

Kerry said climate finance is flowing at significant levels, but work is under way to improve estimates “in the coming weeks.”

Current data and methodological limitations prevent accounting for the full range of flows, in particular through public policy interventions, the joint statement said.

“Any near-term estimate produced will necessarily be partial and will omit some—and possibly a substantial amount—of climate finance mobilized. We intend to continue to improve our methodology as data availability increases and measurement methods evolve and, as a result, we expect our reporting to become more complete over time,” it said.

The 18 countries—joined by the European Commission—were Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.K. and the U.S.

Goal Dates to 2009

About 195 countries are to attend the Nov. 30–Dec. 11 climate summit in Paris, the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-21), aimed at forging an international agreement to fight climate change.

The figure of $100 billion in aid dates to COP 15 talks in Copenhagen in 2009.

France has said a key reason the Copenhagen talks “failed” was they did not precisely or concretely define how emerging and developing countries would pay for their emissions-reduction commitments, which could require such steps as beginning to move from dirty but inexpensive coal to using cleaner alternatives.

Links to Refugee Crisis 

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Sept. 7 that French President Francois Hollande wants to invite country leaders to meet in Paris Nov. 30, for the first day of COP-21, “to avoid Copenhagen syndrome.”

Hollande said the current refugee crisis in Europe is minimal compared to a possible scenario if the global community fails to reach a deal to curb carbon emissions.

“We won’t have hundreds of thousands of refugees in the next 20 or 30 years, but millions” fleeing submerged islands, drought-stricken regions and other catastrophes, Hollande said Sept. 7 at a press conference in Paris, Bloomberg News reported. “Everything depends on this question of finance. It’s the key.”

Group of 20

Group of 20 finance ministers, who met Sept. 4–5 in Ankara, Turkey, acknowledged the ongoing efforts of developed countries on climate change financing, but also called on them to continue to scale up financing in line with their commitments.

Paragraph 13 of the G-20 finance final communique said they had received two new reports on the subject. It also said the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Global Environment Facility have developed a toolkit to enhance low-income and developing countries' access to adaptation finance.

G-20 finance ministers are due to the address the issue again in Lima in early October.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rick Mitchell in Paris at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Greg Henderson at

The Sept. 6 “Joint Statement on Tracking Progress Towards the $100 Billion Goal” is available at:

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's statement is available at

France's statement on its informal ministerial is available at

The final G-20 communiqué is available at