AFTER two weeks of climate talks in Bonn, Germany in early May, an extra week of negotiations has been scheduled for September in Bangkok to address the unresolved issue of finance to aid developing counties cut emissions.
Developed countries, including the US and those within the European Union, in 2009 promised a $100 million package by 2020 that will help to reduce the negative effects on the environment, such as using new technology.
That commitment had reached $62bn by 2014, according to one official study, while developing nations want more details on what money is coming agreed under the Paris Agreement on climate change.
African and other developing countries are being asked to produce verifiable information on the emissions they produce. But they argue that this would involve an expensive bureaucracy, while also expressing worries about rich countries using this information to restrict trade ties.
Countries agreed to limit global average temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius and work toward a safer 1.5-degree goal but added that achieving this success would need the support of both public and private sectors as well as individuals.
Speaking at the Austrian World Summit in Vienna late May, UN Secretary-General António Guterres renewed his call for governments, industry, and the financial sector to meet ‘the challenge of climate change through innovation, urgent action, and substantial investment.’
‘Investments in clean, green infrastructure need to be scaled up globally,’ he said. ‘For that, we need leadership from the finance and investment community and by local, regional and national governments who will decide on major infrastructure plans over the coming years.’
Guterres called for enhanced climate financing to face and address the world’s ‘utmost priority,’ adding: ‘For a full-scale transition to clean energy, we must see billions invested by 2020.’
African countries are among developing nations pushing for the $100 million climate package to materialise. At the first Africa Climate Week in Nairobi in April, African countries agreed on their responses to climate change in advance of the Bonn meeting.
Delegates agreed that action on climate change and sustainable development together was the way forward for Africa
‘Africa can, should and will be the leader of ambitious climate change action in the world,’ said David On’are, a Director at Kenya’s National Environment Management Authority (NEMA). ‘There is the need to raise ambition, interest, innovation and mobilise the necessary means of implementation to address climate change.’
Speaking at Africa Climate Week, Jukka Uosukainen, Director at the Climate Technology and Network Centre (CTCN), said that since the Paris Agreement, ‘African governments have started asking for technological support in tackling climate that adversely affects the continent.’
He added: ‘By serving as a bridge between developing countries’ technology needs and the proven expertise of finance, private sector and research experts from around the world, the [CTCN] builds partnerships that achieve countries’ climate and development objectives. This forum was a great opportunity to share best practices and lessons learned in Africa.’
Africa Climate Week incorporated the 10th Africa Carbon Forum, which showed that the continent was moving forward on the implementation of the Paris Agreement in spite of the still limited international climate finance, according to delegates.
John Christensen, the Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)/Danish Technical University (DTU) Partnership, noted the effect of the limited climate fund, while speaking at Africa Climate Week: ‘No doubt this will be challenging and countries in the African region will, while taking the lead, need support from more developed countries and a private sector that takes part of the responsibility while ensuring it happens in effective and wealth generating ways.’
Al Hamdou Dorsouma, Manager for the Climate and Green Growth Division at the African Development Bank (AfDB) said the bank ‘believes that Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are an opportunity for African countries to put sustainability at the centre of their long-term development.’
He added: ‘The dialogue at this first Africa Climate Week demonstrated the ambition and determination by both state and non-state actors, as well as development partners, to push for expanding green and resilient investments, which enable Africa to leapfrog to high impact and clean technologies in productive sectors.’
For African countries, action is crucial for sustainable development and this is one reason why the September talks in Bangkok will be essential before delegates from 200 countries hold their annual conference on climate change in Poland in December.