The availability of finance to help developing countries tackle climate change is drying up, imperiling the international climate talks, the head of the World Bank’s sustainable development network has warned.
Speaking at Chatham House in London yesterday, Rachel Kyte warned of a “desert” emerging between funds already allocated in ‘fast-start’ climate finance, such as to the Clean Technology Fund, and the beginning of operations of the planned Green Climate Fund.
“There’s an urgent need for pragmatic action on climate finance in the run up to the Durban talks [which begin at the end of November] and just after,” she said.
“It’s crucial if we want to keep the negotiations on track.”
She said that the managers of the Clean Technology Fund, one of two Climate Investment Funds set up via the UN climate talks, and managed by five development banks, have fully “programmed” its $4.5 billion in commitments. That fund has leveraged an additional $37 billion, Kyte said, around one third of which came from the private sector.
Negiotators are hopeful that the rules setting out how the Green Climate Fund will operate will be agreed at the Durban Conference of the Parties to the UN climate change convention.
That fund is intended to channel the $100 billion a year by 2020 that governments pledged at the 2009 Copenhagen climate talks to developing countries.
Kyte argued that, despite the difficult economic conditions, there is the potential to raise and deploy significant capital to help poor countries adapt to the effects of climate change, and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. “Capital is tight, but it can be leveraged effectively,” she said.
“The message is clear – the time for testing and experimenting is over. There’s no magic in climate finance,” she said. “What’s missing is the political will.”
Also speaking at the event, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said that officials meeting in Panama last week got “almost there” in agreeing “a draft operational document” for the Global Climate Fund, for the Durban meeting to approve.