A recent analysis by the Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance found stark discrepancies between climate finance pledges made by higher-income countries in the global north and actual funding being delivered to assist with climate mitigation strategies in vulnerable countries.
The UK’s Independent reported this week that wealthy countries, such as the United States and Britain, will not meet their initial pledges for their climate finance commitment to poorer states once again this year, according to new research.
Several wealthy, developed countries promised over $100 billion in financial assistance to poor countries at the 2009 COP15 summit in Copenhagen to mitigate or reduce the impacts of the climate crisis and adapt to changes.
Having failed miserably to even come close to that figure in the last few years, the research, based on funds mobilised so far, found rich nations “look likely to do so again in 2022”.
The new analysis also puts a renewed spotlight on countries like the US for ignoring their responsibility as well as aiming to determine which countries have been burdened the most.
It allocated responsibility for the $100bn goal among developed countries according to their share of their historical emissions and gross national income.
While terms like “Global North” and “rich countries” have been used to refer to highly industrialised countries that have the greatest chunk of carbon emissions, there has not been a clear metric system for establishing the financial responsibility of these countries, something the current study claims to have done.
The research showed the US is “overwhelmingly responsible” for the climate finance gap. The country provided a meagre 5% of its fair share in 2020. Although its economy is 40% larger than the European Union, it provided only a twelfth of the climate finance than the bloc.
Meanwhile, the UK, which hosted the 26th COP summit last year, provided just half of its fair share in 2020 and will only contribute an additional two-thirds of its share within the next three years. The research also showed that countries like Australia, Canada, Italy and Spain have also fallen short.
But seven higher-income countries have given their fair share in 2020 and pledged their full amounts up to 2025. These countries are Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, France and Japan.
Earlier data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development showed only $83bn of the promised $100bn was mobilised by the global north in 2020, but these figures though remain highly unreliable because a large part of the money mobilised comes as loans instead of grants.
Climate finance remains one of the most contentious issues in international negotiations as lower- and middle-income countries continue to face the worst impacts of global warming created by emissions from industrialised nations.
The amount agreed by rich countries is already considered to be minuscule in comparison to the huge losses borne by poor countries from extreme weather.