Wealthy Nations Aren’t Living Up to the Paris Climate Agreement

One of the pledges made under the historic Paris Climate Agreement was that richer nations agreed to increase financial aid to those nations who have been damaged as a result of global warming. A new report from Oxfam says that’s a promise that isn’t being kept.

Worse than that, countries appear to be “over reporting” what they are actually sending to impoverished nations.

“Despite people in poor Caribbean islands staring down supercharged hurricanes and others in Africa reeling from brutal droughts, the money flowing to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable to climate change remains sadly inadequate,”Tracy Carty, Oxfam’s senior climate change policy,said in a press release.

These revelations come as part of Oxfam’sClimate Finance Shadow Report 2018which takes a look at donor figures from 2016 and 2017 to calculate actual spending versus what was promised.

The Paris Climate Agreement set a number of key goals. One of them was thatdeveloped countries should provide $100 billion to impoverished or developing nations every year to mitigate the burden they face due to human-made climate change.

Climate change that, it has to be pointed out, is largely a result of Western industrialization.

Yet, Oxfam says there’s a big problem here: the figures of climate change assistance money that governments are reporting don’t match the actual value of what they are providing.

In fact, Oxfam estimates that the public finance for climate-specific projects in 2015 and 2016 ranges somewhere between $16 and $21 billion a year. There’s a large gulf betweenthese actual figures and what donor countries are reporting, which is about $48 billion.

The report found that most increases to climate finance come from loans to middle-income countries, and sometimes loans that were not directly about climate finance. If donor countries count these in their figures, that will obscure the real-world value of the overall assistance they are providing.

The report also notes that while there has been an uptick in grant money, the rate of increase hasn’t been fast enough to meet the demand for investment. Perhaps even more critically, the amount of money being provided to countries so that they can adapt to climate change and its impacts is being severely neglected.

Oxfam calculates such spending is at only 20 percent of overall public finance. Oxfam notes this has barely risen from the 19 percent observed in its 2013 and 2014 review, despite the Paris Climate Agreement. This is a problem echoed in the overall spending for the poorest nations which, again, has barely increased.

“There’s no reason why rules for calculating climate [spending] should be more lax than those for aid,”Tracy Carty points out, “Governments have to agree new accounting standards for climate finance under the Paris Agreement at this year’s COP climate conference in Poland, this is an opportunity to agree fair and robust standards.”

Poor nations are feeling this neglect, too.The Guardian reports that, at the Commonwealth summit in London this past month, Caribbean island nations made “impassioned pleas” for help. These countries, which have been devastated by natural disasters over the past few years, are dealing withclimate change-relatedstorms, droughts and sea level rise.

There were some more positive signs in the report, though. Nations like the UK and the Netherlands were providing up to 90 percent of the assistance they have promised, and the shortfall could be recouped with renewed efforts on spending.

In a troubling sign, though, France’s spending is falling behind.French President Emmanuel Macron has made climate change one of his priorities, so hopefully Francewill beginaddressing this issue.

It is clearthat the Paris Climate Agreement, if it is to mean anything at all, needs full support from allnations involved.

Merelypaying lip-service to the agreement isn’t just an example of grubby politics. It is condemning impoverished nations to grapple with natural disasters that the West’s development has made worse.

Rich nationshave a responsibility to the world, and we must take it seriously. Governments should immediately adopt regulations that allow for full transparency in climate aid spendingand start living up to our Paris Agreement promises.

Photo credit: Thinkstock.

57 comments

Marie W
Marie Wabout a month ago

Thanks

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KimJ M
KimJ M5 months ago

Tfs

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KimJ M
KimJ M5 months ago

Tfs

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KimJ M
KimJ M5 months ago

Tfs

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KimJ M
KimJ M5 months ago

Tfs

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KimJ M
KimJ M5 months ago

Tfs

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Rachel -
Past Member 7 months ago

You still believe climate change is going to be helped by sending money to dictatorships and despotic regimes? Sorry, I doubt it.

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Marija M
Marija M7 months ago

thank you for sharing

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Mike A.
Mike A.7 months ago

Good thing that we pulled out and saved $100 Billion of our tax dollars YET 1970-2015, US emissions of 6 common pollutants dropped an average of 70%. Can't say the same for France, Germany, India, China

As nations retreat from nuclear, 62 nations building & planning *1,600* new coal plants — 43% increase from today

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Danii P
Past Member 7 months ago

Thanks

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