Half of the nearly US$8 billion in climate change mitigation financing given to the developing world since 2003 went to just 10 countries, and nations most at risk got the short end of the stick, a report said on Sunday.
The top three recipients were Morocco, Mexico and Brazil, which each got more than US$500 million of the US$7.6 billion total, according to an analysis of spending over the past decade in 135 nations and territories.
The report, released by the Overseas Development Institute, a UK think tank, was released ahead of the second and final week of UN negotiations in Lima for a global pact to curb potentially disastrous effects of climate change.
“Mexico and Brazil are among the top 10 emitters of greenhouse gases, and with Morocco, all have huge renewable energy potential,” an institute statement said.
However, many of the poorest nations were left behind.
“Conflict-affected and fragile states such as Ivory Coast and South Sudan, where it is generally difficult to spend financing, received less than US$350,000 and US$700,000 respectively,” the statement said. “Several middle-income countries that are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and have significant clean energy potential, such as Namibia, El Salvador and Guatemala, also received less than US$5 million each.”
The aid from rich nations is meant to help poor and vulnerable countries adapt to climate change effects and curb greenhouse gas emissions through a shift away from fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas.
Funding for adaptation rocketed from US$3.8 million in 2003 to US$2 billion this year, the report said.
“While not enough, the trends in spending are positive,” it said. “Poor countries such as Niger, Bangladesh and Nepal have received nearly US$400 million over the past decade to help them cope with this growing threat.”
However, the 10 most vulnerable nations — including Somalia, the Solomon Islands, Burundi, Niger and Eritrea — benefited from only 7 percent of adaptation aid.
“Effective use of climate finance will help win the support of poor countries which have contributed the least to climate change, but bear the brunt of its impacts,” report author Smita Nakhooda said.
Finance is a sore point at the UN climate talks, with developing nations insisting that rich economies show how they intend to honor promises to muster up to US$100 billion in climate change financing per year beginning in 2020.
Nearly US$10 billion in startup capital has been pledged for the Green Climate Fund, the main vehicle for channeling the money.
On Friday last week, a UN report said that developing countries might need up to US$500 billion per year by 2050 for adaptation alone.
“There is substantial scope to improve results and learn from experience” on climate financing, the statement said.
Funds need to become less risk-averse and more flexible when it comes to donor conditions and scrutiny.
“There are now too many small climate funding ‘pots’ with substantial overlap and finance is spread too thinly between them,” Nakhooda added. “The lives of millions of people in poor countries affected by climate change depend on getting this right.”
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