What funding is really at stake at the COP?


Glasgow (United Kingdom)

From our special correspondent

They are often overshadowed by purely political announcements. From the start of the Glasgow climate conference, the pledges of billions to limit global warming have multiplied. On the second day, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the release of 10.3 billion euros of public funds to fight against deforestation, accompanied by 6.2 billion of private funds. On the same day, South Africa declared that it had mobilized 7.4 billion euros over five years for its energy transition from Great Britain, France, Germany, the United States and the European Union.

If the announcements come before negotiations even begin, is there still anything going on during these two weeks of meeting? In the case of South Africa, discussions have already been taking place for several months. The loans and donations mobilized should in particular help Eskom, the company which supplies 90% of the country’s electricity, to extricate itself from coal.

“It is normal that there are discussions upstream to define the terms, explains Mathilde Bord-Laurans, director of the climate division of the French Development Agency. Climate conferences have the usefulness of making it possible to land discussions. “ In other words, set a deadline for the end of negotiations and increase the pressure to find an agreement.

However, this question of financing remains a key point in the negotiations at the same time. “It’s always a parameter that comes into the balance, notes Simon Wilson, communications director of the Green Fund, which manages part of climate finance on behalf of the UN. Some countries do not see a reason to make new commitments if they cannot find funding to compensate. “

This is the whole question of creating the ” confidence “, a noun regularly repeated when we talk about North-South diplomatic relations in the area of ​​climate. However, this has been greatly altered after the failure of the most advanced economies to mobilize the 100 billion dollars annually promised from 2020 (promise made in 2009) to finance adaptation and transition in the most advanced countries. vulnerable.

At the end of October, with a great deal of diplomatic efforts, the British presidency had obtained additional promises and announced that the objective would finally be reached in 2023. Too late, answer the countries of the South, which are pushing in the negotiations so that the 100 billion will be achieved next year.

Glasgow is also the scene of more informal – but no less important – discussions between donors, States and representatives of civil society. “For representatives of indigenous peoples, climate conferences are an avenue for meeting leaders, says Torbjorn Gjefsen, policy advisor for the Rainforest Foundation Norway, which fights against deforestation. Sometimes it’s even easier here than in their country of residence. “

Note that public finance can only be a drop in the bucket out of the trillions needed to finance the transition. “Development banks represent around 10% of global investment, explains Mathilde Bord-Laurans. One of the challenges is to create a leverage effect in order to then attract private funding. “ The results are still not very visible. According to the OECD, of the 80 billion dollars in climate finance in 2019, directed from the North to the South, private funds represented only 14 billion.

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