Rich nations urged to honour climate fund pledges




ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Mushahidullah Khan urged rich nations on Sunday to deliver on their $10 billion pledges to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) set up last year to meet costs of tackling climate change-induced disasters in poor countries. He said that rich countries at the UN-led donor conference held in Berlin on Nov 20 had pledged a total of $10.2bn to the GCF against an informal target of $10bn in initial capitalisation set up by the GCF to help developing countries tackle climate change. “But, it is a matter of serious concern for developing countries that the rich countries have contributed so far only 42 per cent of the $10 billion,” he said in a statement.

Quoting an analysis published on April 30 by the GCF, the minister said the United States was overdue on $1.5bn, Japan $750 million and Canada $130m.

He said the head of the United Nations’ flagship GCF had recently warned that it could not start work as planned because leading backers, including the US, Canada and Australia, had not provided funds they had promised.

“This means the GCF will have to hold back plans to back green energy projects in developing countries, including Pakistan, ahead of this year’s UN-led global climate summit to be held in Paris in December this year to agree on a global climate deal aimed at putting a cap on carbon emissions to keep global emission’s rise to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels,” he said.

The minister cautioned that with inadequate financial resources and lack of technology, “we, developing countries, cannot fight the negative impacts of climate change, protect our economies and people from them.”

“Therefore, rich nations, including Austria, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, US and UK, should honour their combined $10 billion financial pledges as early as possible, which they made during the last year’s UN-led donor conference,” he urged.

The GCF is a major part of a plan reached in 2009, whereby rich countries had agreed to mobilise $100bn every year from 2020, to help developing nations adapt to a changing global climate and reduce their own carbon emissions by boosting forest growth, energy-efficient urban transportation, shifting to renewable energies such as solar or wind and help them adapt to erratic weather patterns and their damaging impact.

The GCF established in 2010 within the framework of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC ) is a global funding mechanism to redistribute money from the developed to the developing world to assist developing countries in adaptation and mitigation practices to counter harmful impacts of climate change.

Over 198 countries are signatories to the UNFCCC, which is an international environmental treaty.