Rich nations over-reported climate finance: study
Published: Jan 21, 2021 07:03 PM
Rich countries have over-reported finance to help countries adapt to the impacts of climate change by $20 billion over the last decade, leaving at-risk communities drastically underfunded, a new analysis showed on Thursday.

Under the 2015 Paris climate deal, countries are required to boost funding to hard-hit governments, evenly split between cash to mitigate global warming and to help them adapt to future climate impacts. 

Abandoned houses in the Omani village of Wadi al-Murr, about 400 kilometers southwest of the capital Muscat on December 31, 2020. The advance of the desert is not specific to the sultanate of Oman, and experts say climate change is one of the factors propelling the phenomenon in different parts of the world. Photo: VCG

Developed countries promised to provide $50 billion in annual finance for adaptation by 2020. But official OECD figures show that in 2018 donors committed just $16.8 billion.

The true figure, according to an analysis by green group CARE International, is in fact far lower: just $9.7 billion.

CARE and its partner organizations in Africa and Southeast Asia assessed 112 climate adaptation projects funded by 25 donor countries equivalent to 13 percent of total global adaptation finance between 2013-17.

They found that the funding for adaptation in these projects had been over-reported by 42 percent. Applying that figure to remaining projects, CARE said that adaptation finance had been over-reported by $20 billion during the same period.

It said several countries and donors had overblown their adaptation grants by including finance for construction projects such as housing and roads not related to the climate at all.

"The world's poorest people are not responsible for the climate crisis yet are hardest hit," said John Nordbo of CARE Denmark. 

"Not only have rich nations let the Global South down by failing to deliver enough adaptation finance, but they have tried to give the impression that they are providing more than they do."

The assessment showed that Japan had over-reported its climate adaptation finance by more than $1.3 billion, including more than $400 million on projects such as a "Friendship Bridge" and an expressway in Vietnam. 

It also accused France of mislabeling $90 million provided for a local governance scheme in the Philippines as climate adaptation finance, even though only 5 percent of that project's budget is earmarked for that objective.

The Paris deal aims to limit warming above pre-industrial levels to "well below" 2 C. 

With just 1 C of warming so far, a string of climate-linked disasters have battered developing economies, which often face interminable waits for reconstruction funding. 

The United Nations said on Sunday that countries were falling short of their Paris pledges by failing to fund vulnerable nations' climate fight. It said the true cost of adaptation was currently around $70 billion annually. But that figure could swell as high as $300 billion a year by the end of the decade, it said.
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