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Richer nations falling far short on climate finance

The topic is likely to be particularly prominent at COP27, as nations on the frontlines of the climate crisis demand reparations to help them establish climate adaptation.

The US, UK, Canada and Australia are billions short of the climate finance contributions agreed to in 2009, new analysis by Carbon Brief has shown.

An international agreement was formed at the COP15 climate summit in Copenhagen, with $100 billion of climate finance to be delivered each year by 2020 and proportionate contributions to be made by each country.

But the US is $32 billion short of the contributions it should be making according to Carbon Brief, having paid an estimated $8 billion in 2020.

closeup photo of U.S.A. flag

America is responsible for 52% of historical emissions, meaning it should have paid $39.9 billion towards the $100 billion target if the country was making proportionate contributions to climate funding. 

This is despite president Joe Biden pledging to pay $11.4 billion a year by 2024 – this year Congress has approved just $1 billion so far.

Other countries failing to make proportionate contributions include Canada which is only paying 37% of its share, Australia paying 38% of its fair share and the UK gave 76% of its share, falling $1.4 billion short.

However, analysis showed some countries are actually contributing more than their fair share to climate finance, with Germany, France and Japan paying billions over what is required.

Switzerland is thought to have paid 436% more than its fair share in 2020 after contributing $1 billion to climate funding. Norway also paid 358% more and France contributed 335% more than required in 2020.

But Carbon Brief has highlighted how this conceals the fact that Germany, France and Japan prefer to contribute this funding through loans, rather than grants, so burden is still placed on developing nations.

COP26 attempted to address these issues, encouraging nations to double their climate finance, but only five countries have increased their funds since 2021 – Japan, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.

The UK, last year’s COP26 host, was heavily criticised for failing to pay an agreed £260 million in climate payments on time prior to COP27.

Photo by Osman Rana

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