The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) releases briefings which serve as concentrated overviews of current environment and development issues. IIED briefings are “accessible, topical and relevant to a range of readerships, they offer up-to-date research, flag up the people and processes involved, and point to needed shifts in policy”. The following briefings have been written by members of the Climate and Development Lab.
2011 ”Adaptation Finance: How Can Durban Deliver on Past Promises”
By David Ciplet, J. Timmons Roberts, Mizan Khan, Linglang He, and Spencer Fields.
There is an ever-widening chasm between the support developing countries need to adapt to climate change, and the funding promised and delivered by wealthy nations. This paper looks at the Durban negotiations and the steps countries should take to ensure the developed world can meet its agreed responsibilities: establish funding sources based on international trade; define annual targets for the scale-up; and adopt a transparent, centralised accounting system.
2011 “Scoring Fast-Start Climate Finance: Leaders and Laggards in Transparency.”
By David Ciplet, J. Timmons Roberts, Martin Stadelmann, Saleemul Huq and Achala Chandani.
In 2009, developed countries pledged US$30 billion of ‘fast-start climate finance’. Transparent reporting on climate finance is essential for governments to plan mitigation and adaptation activities and for civil society to hold contributors and recipients to account for how climate funds are spent. This briefing presents a new scorecard based on the extent to which developed countries meet a set of common-sense criteria in their climate finance reports to the UN. It reveals that we have a long way to go in making climate finance transparent and urgently need an international registry of funds that provides comprehensive, detailed, consistent and transparent accounting and reporting measures at the project level.
The most concrete commitment to come out of the international climate negotiations in Copenhagen was US$30 billion dollars in ‘fast-start climate finance’ to developing countries, with balanced support for both mitigation and adaptation. Fast-start adaptation finance, in particular, is crucial for poor countries facing rapid climate change. But so far, pledges for adaptation from developed countries have been inadequate and unclear. This briefing outlines ways for the Cancun negotiations to address five crucial issues for adaptation finance: (1) the amount andtype of funding being offered, (2) the definition of adaptation, (3) global oversight and accounting, (4) a clear baseline and transparent spending, and (5) the channel for delivering funds. (Nov 2010)
2010 “Baseline for Trust: Defining ‘New and Additional’ Climate Funding.”
By Martin Stadelman, J. Timmons Roberts and Saleemul Huq.
Climate finance is becoming a dark curve on the road from Copenhagen to Cancún. Poorer nations fear that richer ones will fulfil the US$30 billion ‘fast-start’ climate finance promises made in the non-binding Copenhagen Accord by relabelling or diverting basic development aid, or by simply delivering on past climate finance pledges. The problem is simple: contributor countries are operating with no clear baseline against which their promise of ‘new and additional’ funding can be counted –and they do not accept the baselines put forth by developing countries. A viable solution for the short term is to use projections of business-as-usual development assistance as baselines. The longer-term benchmark could be the provision of truly ‘new’ funds from new funding sources. Substantial up-front negotiations may be required, but seizing this opportunity to define baselines will build confidence on both sides and create predictability for future finance.
2010 “Copenhagen’s Climate Finance Promises: Six Key Questions.”
By J. Timmons Roberts, Martin Stadelman, and Saleemul Huq.
One clear promise emerged from the confusion of the 2009 climate talks in Copenhagen. This was to provide short- and long-term ‘climate finance’ to help developing countries – especially the most vulnerable – adapt to climate impacts. The promise seemed simple enough: wealthier nations would pledge US$10 billion a year from 2010-2012, ramping up to US$100 billion a year starting in 2020. This was also touted as a way to help developing countries avoid high-carbon pathways of development by adopting lower-emitting power sources such as solar or natural gas. But a closer look at the Copenhagen promise unearths at least six big questions – any one of which could seriously challenge the trust these funds were designed to build.
2009 “Billions at Stake in Climate Finance: Four Key Lessons.”
By Peter Newell, J. Timmons Roberts, Emily Boyd, and Saleemul Huq.
How can we break through the impasse on the road to Copenhagen? As the climate talks stall over the size of emissions cuts and who pays for them, it is increasingly clear that funding will be key to breaking the deadlock. Guaranteeing adequate levels of climate finance will be a deal maker or breaker for the poorest nations as the December summit approaches. But on the brink of a new chapter in climate funding, with unprecedented flows at stake, donor countries need to learn from decades of aid experience – mistakes as well as successes. Failure to do this risks wasting a great opportunity to kickstart low-carbon, climate-resilient development for the world’s poor.