Oxfam seeks clarity in climate aid vows

Bloomberg

Tue, Nov 12, 2013 - Page 7

Poor nations have been left in the dark on how much finance wealthy ones will provide to help them adapt to the effects of climate change and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, the development charity Oxfam said.

While rich countries have pledged a total of US$16.3 billion of climate aid for this year, murky accounting and a lack of transparency mean the actual amount offered is probably closer to US$7.6 billion, Oxford, England-based Oxfam said yesterday, as two weeks of UN climate talks started in Warsaw.

Climate aid is a linchpin of the discussions because developing countries say industrialized nations caused the bulk of global warming through two centuries of greenhouse gas emissions and must take the lead in fixing the problem. Envoys have not said how they will boost climate finance to the US$100 billion a year they have promised in 2020. That is 10 times the annual amount they had committed for 2010 through last year.

“Uncertainty from one year to the next makes it impossible for vulnerable countries to take the action they need to protect their citizens,” Oxfam official Kelly Dent said in an e-mailed statement. “This murkiness will only heighten distrust around the negotiating table.”

Oxfam discounted some funding pledges, which it said were redirected from overseas aid budgets and so should not count as “new and additional” money. Other aid comes in the form of loans that must be repaid, it said.

A total of 24 developed nations have yet to say how much they will pay out in climate finance this year, Oxfam said. The UK, Germany, France and Finland are the only countries that Oxfam said provided enough information to make a robust estimates of their aid. Britain is the only country to have provided figures for 2015. France has provided enough detail to make an estimate, the charity said.

Contributions declared by nations or estimated by Oxfam for this year include US$2.7 billion from France, US$2.4 billion from Germany, US$6 billion from Japan, US$2.9 billion over two years from Britain and US$1.6 billion from the US. The estimate from the US rises to as high as US$2.5 billion when some development assistance is included.

For its part, the EU is on track to spend a pledged 5.5. billion euros (US$7.4 billion) this year, Juergen Lefevere, deputy delegation chief for the European Commission said on Sunday in Warsaw.