The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, has urged developed countries to deliver on a pledge of supplying 100 billion dollars annually in climate finance support for developing countries.
Guterres made the call at the High Level Climate Vulnerable Countries Leaders’ Dialogue at the ongoing UN’s COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland.
The Secretary-general warned that the target would likely not be met until 2023 and would require additional funding after that.
“I compare this meagre sum with the trillions being spent on COVID-19 recovery by developed countries,” he said.
According to news reports, the latest diplomatic effort, led by Germany and Canada, aims to pull together the required funding by 2023, three years after the deadline established by the Paris Agreement.
“I urge the developed world to accelerate delivery on the 100 billion dollars to rebuild trust,” he said.
The secretary-general stressed the importance of these investments, and that adaptation works, early warning systems spared lives, and climate-smart agriculture and infrastructure saved jobs.
That is why, Guterres explained, he kept asking all donors to allocate half their climate finance to adaptation.
Currently, just a quarter of these funds go towards adaptation, around 20.1 billion dollars. It is estimated that the adaptation costs to developing countries could rise to as much as 300 billion dollars a year by 2030.
The UN chief compared the investment to the vast funds being spent on COVID-19 recovery, by countries that could afford it.
“Advanced economies are investing nearly 28 per cent of their Gross Domestic Product into economic recovery.
“For middle-income countries, that number falls to 6.5 per cent. For the Least Developed Countries, it’s less than two per cent,” Guterres noted.
he argued that vulnerable countries must have faster and easier access to finance, believing that could be achieved by reducing red tape, increasing eligibility thresholds and offering debt relief.
“You represent those who are first to suffer and those who are last to receive help. The solidarity you need is lacking. The solidarity needs to emerge here, in Glasgow,” Guterres told representatives of vulnerable nations at COP26.
The battle to keep 1.5 alive will be won or lost during this decade
According to the latest data from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the current Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) would result in a still catastrophic temperature rise of up to 2.7 degrees Celsius.
With the announcements made in the last few days, Guterres said that “it’s difficult to calculate” where the world stands right now, but he is certain that “significantly more ambition” is needed from G20 nations, who collectively account for 80 per cent of carbon pollution.
“The battle to keep 1.5 alive will be won or lost during this decade,” he said.
According to him, to keep this goal alive, every country and region must commit to net zero emissions and pursue concrete and credible near-term targets.
“I urge the Climate Vulnerable Forum to continue to serve as the custodians of climate ambition,” he said.