4 Ways the Green Climate Fund Can Help Developing Countries
By Alex Doukas
The Green Climate Fund (GCF) has big ambitions: It aspires to become the main global fund for providing climate change finance, contributing to activities like the design of resilient cities and the expansion of low-emission power generation.
However, it faces crucial questions about how it will allocate its funds to achieve its many mitigation and adaptation objectives, while avoiding the pitfalls of spreading funding too thinly to achieve impact. The answers to these questions and more will shape to what degree the GCF can catalyze low-carbon, climate-resilient development in developing countries.
The GCF Board discussed how to allocate its resources at its meeting in Bali, Indonesia. The WRI analyzed how 15 other climate and development funds balance trade-offs to achieve their objectives.
Four key insights emerge from this analysis that the GCF Board should consider as it continues discussing how to allocate its funds:
Identify a range of possibilities to invest in from the ground up, and prioritize support where it can have the most impact in addressing climate change. By allowing local companies and investors—whether they are owned by governments or by the private sector—to present the GCF with a range of investment possibilities, the Fund can cast its net wide and identify opportunities that can deliver maximum impact. Moreover, such an approach also helps to foster a stronger ownership of programs and projects by those who will be responsible for taking actions that address climate change. At the same time, to ensure progress toward internationally agreed-upon outcomes—such as limiting global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius—the GCF cannot fund whatever comes its way. It will need to screen opportunities to ensure that the projects it selects will deliver maximum benefits in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing resilience to the expected impacts of climate change.
Prioritize activities that deliver long-term impacts. To focus on the highest-impact investments, the GCF will have to prioritize activities that have the potential to put us on a fundamentally low-emission, climate-resilient path (what the GCF calls a “paradigm shift”), rather than “quick fixes.” As a hypothetical example, while fuel-switching from coal to natural gas might yield cost-effective, short-term emissions reductions, it may not support deeper, long-term emissions reductions in the same way that investments in renewable energy would. Efforts like renewable energy development may take a longer time to bear fruit than short-term, one-off investments, but are critically important in transitioning to low-carbon economies. And there will certainly be exceptions, such as addressing imminent humanitarian needs arising from climate change impacts. Incorporating different time horizons for actions and results into allocation approaches will support the kind of transformational impacts to which the GCF aspires.
Allocations should be driven by potential for impact and calibrated for fairness. The GCF Board must ensure that the balance of resources allocated is perceived as fair. Many funds start with an allocation process focused on potential for impact, and only after this initial allocation do they make adjustments or apply caps and floors to ensure fairness. This appears to be a more effective way to ensure equity in the distribution of resources, particularly for low-capacity countries. Such adjustments can ensure that groups of countries that meet certain criteria, such as the Least Developed Countries, have adequate access to resources even if they end up with lower initial allocations because of their capacity constraints.
Provide flexibility to be responsive to emerging opportunities, but not at the expense of predictability. The GCF should be empowered with an allocation system that is flexible enough to respond to brief windows of opportunity for low-emission and climate-resilient development. For example, a country recovering from a climate-related disaster might see an opportunity to rebuild in a more climate-resilient way, but would not have been able to foresee this circumstance. Overly rigid allocation systems are ill-suited to respond quickly to such opportunities and are unable to accommodate the wide variety of socio-economic conditions and institutional capacities across (and within) developing countries. At the same time, the GCF needs to provide patient support where needed to enable long-term, systemic change. Finding a balance between predictable flows and a flexible system will be necessary. The degree of flexibility could be differentiated, with more flexibility for mitigation and more predictability for adaptation. Increased predictability in adaptation funding can help countries with a high degree of need but limited capacity to use funds effectively.
While the GCF Board should be ambitious and innovative, they can also look to what’s been done before. Drawing knowledge from the experiences of other critical climate and development funds is one way to ensure that the GCF succeeds.
Getting the allocation system right is a key step in building an effective and fair GCF that can contribute to objectives like the design of low-emission, climate-resilient cities, the expansion of renewable energy, and more. The insights above can help guide the GCF to focus on opportunities that deliver substantial global benefits, without fragmenting resources in a way that dilutes impact.
Learn more on the World Resource Institute's working paper, Sum of Parts: Making the Green Climate Fund's Allocations Add Up to Its Ambitions.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Jeff Masters, Ph.D.
Tropical Storm Josephine Also No Threat to Land<p>Meanwhile, the season's record-earliest tenth named storm, Tropical Storm Josephine, was also struggling with high wind shear as it traced out a path over the open ocean.</p><p>At 5 a.m. EDT Saturday, Josephine was located about 310 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands, moving west-northwest at 15 mph with top sustained winds at 45 mph. Josephine is expected to bring one to three inches of rain over portions of the northern Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico over the weekend. Josephine will encounter steadily rising wind shear through Monday, peaking at a very high 30 – 35 knots. This high shear is likely to destroy Josephine's circulation by Monday, before the storm can affect any other land areas.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from <a href="https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2020/08/tropical-storm-kyle-forms-unlikely-to-affect-land/" target="_blank">Yale Climate Connections</a>. </em><em></em></p>
By Ute Eberle
In May 2017, shells started washing up along the Ligurian coast in Italy. They were small and purple and belonged to a snail called Janthina pallida that is rarely seen on land. But the snails kept coming — so many that entire stretches of the beach turned pastel.
The Ligurian coast has been swept by snails turning its color pastel.
A World Between Worlds<p>The neuston comprises a multitude of weird and wonderful creatures. </p><p>Many, like the Portuguese man-of-war, which paralyzes its prey with venomous tentacles up to 30 meters long, are colored an electric shade of blue, possibly to protect themselves against the sun's UV rays, or as camouflages against predators.</p><p>There are also by-the-wind sailors, flattish creatures that raise chitin shields from the water like sails; slugs known as sea dragons that cling to the water's surface from below with webbed appendages; barnacles that build bubble rafts as big as dinner plates; and the world's only marine insects, a relation of the pond skater.</p><p>They live "between the worlds" of the sea and sky, as Federico Betti, a marine biologist at the University of Genoa, puts it. From below, predators lurk. From above, the sun burns. Winds and waves toss them about. Depending on the weather, their environment may be warm or cool, salty or less so.</p>
Sea snails can make up the neuston.
Velella velella jellyfish living on the surface of the ocean.<p>But now, they face another — manmade — threat from nets designed to catch trash. A project called <a href="https://theoceancleanup.com/" target="_blank">The Ocean Cleanup</a>, run by Dutch inventor Boyan Slat, has raised millions of dollars in donations and sponsorship to deploy long barriers with nets that will drift across the ocean in open loops to sweep up floating garbage. </p>
Collecting With the Current<p>"Plastic could outweigh fish in the oceans by 2050. To us, that future is unacceptable," <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/green-entrepreneur-sets-sights-on-great-pacific-garbage-patch/a-38855785" target="_blank">The Ocean Cleanup</a> declares on its website.</p><p>But Rebecca Helm, a marine biologist at the University of North Carolina, and one of the few scientists to study this ecosystem, fears that The Ocean Cleanup's proposal to remove 90% of the plastic trash from the water could also virtually wipe out the neuston.</p><p>One focus of Helm's studies is where these organisms congregate. "There are places that are very, very concentrated and areas of little concentration, and we're trying to figure out why," says Helm.</p><p>One factor is that the neuston floats with ocean currents, and Helm worries that it might collect in the exact same spots as marine plastic pollution. "Our initial data show that regions with high concentrations of plastic are also regions with high concentrations of life."</p>
Waste collection in the Pacific Ocean heralded by The Ocean Cleanup.<p>The Ocean Cleanup says Helm's concerns are based on "misguided assumptions."</p><p>"It's true that neustonic organisms will be trapped in the barriers," says Gerhard Herndl, professor of Aquatic Biology at the University of Vienna and one of project's scientific advisors. "But these organisms have dangerous lives. They're adapted to high losses because they get washed ashore in storms and they have high reproductive rates. If they didn't, they'd already be extinct."</p><p>Helm says they just don't know how quickly these creatures reproduce, and in any case recovering from passing storm is very different from surviving The Ocean Clean Up's systems which could be in place for years.</p>
Communication Breakdown<p>The Ocean Cleanup invited Helm to a symposium on the topic in December, where both sides presented their points of views and didn't seem to find much common ground. Since then, direct communication between them has stopped, says Helm. "They're not interested in talking to me anymore."</p><p>Both sides agree that much is still unknown about the neuston. But one thing that has been established is that most of the oceans' fish spend part of their lifecycle in the neuston. "More than 90% of marine fish species produce floating eggs that persist on the surface until hatching," Betti says.</p><p>The Ocean Cleanup has undertaken one of the few studies into this ecosystem, collecting data on the neuston on the relative abundance of neuston and floating plastic debris in the eastern North Pacific Ocean during a 2019 expedition to the Pacific Garbage Patch, an area where plastic pollution has accumulated on a vast scale. But it is not yet sharing what it has found. The information was being prepared for publication in an as of yet unspecified journal, probably some time next year, an Ocean Cleanup spokesperson said. </p>
Inshore Solution?<p>Helm believes the best way to tackle the marine plastic problem would be to position the barriers closer to land — across river mouths and bays — to catch garbage before it reaches the sea.</p><p>"Stopping the flow of plastic into the ocean is the most cost-effective — and literally effective — way to ensure that it's not entering our environment," she says. </p><p>As for the plastic already floating in open waters, she does not believe it is worth sacrificing parts of neuston and wants to see more research first. </p><p>The Ocean Cleanup has made barriers across rivers a part of its mission. But it is also going ahead with its original vision of pulling trash from the open water. In late 2018, the project deployed a 600-meter, u-shaped prototype net into the <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/environment-conservation-plastic-oceans/a-54436603" target="_blank">Great Pacific Garbage Patch</a>. </p><p>The system ran into difficulties, failing to retain plastic as hoped, and needing to be brought shore for repairs and a design upgrade, after which Ocean Cleanup says it gathered haul of plastic that it will recycle and resell to help fund future operations.</p><p>Over the next two years, the project hopes to deploy up to 60 such barriers to collect drifting flotsam. Helm isn't the only one concerned about these plans.</p><p><span></span>"We should think twice about every action we take in the sea," Betti says. "In nature, nothing is as easy as we think, and often, we've done a lot of damage while trying to do a good thing."</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/environment-conservation-plastic-oceans/a-54436603" target="_blank">Deutsche Welle</a>.<a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2646992655#/" target="_self"></a></em><em></em></p>
By Hope Dickens
Molly Craig's day begins with feeding hungry baby birds at 6 a.m. The birds need to be fed every 15 minutes until 7 at night. If she's not feeding them, other staff at the Fox Valley Wildlife Center in Elburn, Illinois take turns helping the hungry orphans.
By Douglas Broom
"Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people," said former U.S. president, Franklin Roosevelt.
So the FAO is using Twitter to remind the world of these five hidden benefits of forests.
A Michigan bald eagle proved that nature can still triumph over machines when it attacked and drowned a nearly $1,000 government drone.
- Judge Rules Against Trump's Attempt to Log in America's Largest ... ›
- Trump Admin Guts Endangered Species Act in the Midst of Climate ... ›
- 17 States Sue to Stop Trump Admin Attack on Endangered Species ... ›
A professional cycling race in Australia is under attack for its connections to a major oil and gas producer, the Guardian reports.
- Burning All Fossil Fuels Would Lead to a 17 C Rise in Arctic ... ›
- All Renewables Will Be Cost Competitive With Fossil Fuels by 2020 ... ›
- G20 Nations Spend $77 Billion a Year to Finance Fossil Fuels ... ›
- People Eat 50,000+ Microplastics Every Year, New Study Finds ... ›
- Microplastics Are Increasing in Our Lives, New Research Finds ... ›
- Sharks Are Polluted With Plastic, New Study Shows - EcoWatch ›
- 73% of Deep-Sea Fish Have Ingested Plastic - EcoWatch ›
- Scientists Launch Groundbreaking Study on Health Risks of ... ›
- 25% of Fish Sold at Markets Contain Plastic or Man-Made Debris ... ›