The UN’s much vaunted Green Climate Fund (GCF) opened its headquarters in South Korea today. You’ll forgive us if we don’t bust out the streamers and kazoos; at this point, there’s not much to cheer.Three years ago, delegates in Cancun agreed to set up the fund to help poorer countries adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change. Those delegates imagined channeling billions of dollars by now, but so far the GCF has just $40 million to its name, thanks to South Korea. Reuters reports:
Rich nations promised in 2010 to provide $10 billion per year in fast-start climate financeover 2011 to 2013, and scale funding up to $100 billion annually by 2020.But inflows have fallen far short of expected levels, with new finance even dropping by more than two-thirds in 2013 from 2012, Britain’s Overseas Development Institute says.
It’s still far too early to write this endeavor off; Sweden and Germany “intend” to pay in, and the fund itself isn’t expected to become “operational” til later next year. But good intentions don’t mean much, especially in a still-weak global economy. At this year’s UN climate conference in Warsaw, delegates from the developing world pushed (unsuccessfully) for increased commitments to the GCF; many of these countries are tying their emissions commitments to the success or failure of the fund. That is, without more financial guarantees from the developed world, the developing world won’t be cutting emissions. Given the GCF’s ignominious start, things aren’t looking good for the international approach to climate change.