The Road to Paris
The Amazing Vanishing Climate Change Fund!

This was a big week for pledging to solve climate change, as some of the world’s biggest economies promised to get greener by conveniently round-numbered degrees. The NYT reports:

In [a] joint announcement by Brazil and the United States, the two nations committed to increasing the use of wind, solar and geothermalenergy to make up 20 percent of each country’s electricity production by 2030, which would double power generation from renewable sources in Brazil and triple it in the United States. Brazil also pledged to restore about 30 million acres of Amazon rain forest, an area about the size of Pennsylvania […]

China’s plan included a broad commitment to decouple economic growth from the use of fossil fuels, and a move to lower its carbon intensity, or the amount of the pollutant generated by each point of economic growth, by 60 to 65 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. It also laid out plans to develop a national cap-and-trade system, a market-based program for reducing emissions in which companies must pay for permits to pollute, and can buy and sell those permits among themselves.

But these announcements are not a cure-all for the problems that threaten to bedevil the climate summit. Conspicuously absent from all of these announcements were any concrete contributions to a proposed $100 billion fund intended to assist the world’s poorer countries in coping with climate change. As it’s currently sketched out, the developed world would pay into this massive fund annually, and that money would go towards helping the developing world mitigate and adapt to climate change. But as Bloomberg reports, little progress has been made towards seeing this policy realized:

With five months to go before a critical conference that’s expected to result in a global emissions pact, developing nations say they’re still waiting for proof the richest countries will meet a $100 billion-a-year pledge to help them curb greenhouse gases and adapt to a warming world. The concerns threaten to undermine talks aimed at reaching an agreement in Paris in December. […]

Wealthy economies, including the U.S. and Europe, first promised the funding in 2009, committing to mobilize both public and private financing. So far, the countries have pledged about $10 billion for one UN agency, the Green Climate Fund, but not all the money has actually been delivered.

With not even a tenth of that annual fund accounted for, the world’s poorer nations will head into December’s climate summit in Paris with a certain amount of mistrust and skepticism. The divide between the developed and developing worlds lies at the very heart of these climate talks, and the fact that more progress hasn’t been made towards filling up this green wallet should alarm everyone involved with the negotiations.

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