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.
- Redwoods are the world's tallest trees.
- Now scientists have discovered they are even bigger than we thought.
- Using laser technology they map the 80-meter giants.
- Trees are a key plank in the fight against climate change.
They are among the largest trees in the world, descendants of forests where dinosaurs roamed.
Pixabay / Simi Luft<p><span>Until recently, measuring these trees meant scaling their 80 meter high trunks with a tape measure. Now, a team of scientists from University College London and the University of Maryland uses advanced laser scanning, to create 3D maps and calculate the total mass.</span></p><p>The results are striking: suggesting the trees <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">may be as much as 30% larger than earlier measurements suggested.</a> Part of that could be due to the additional trunks the Redwoods can grow as they age, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a process known as reiteration</a>.</p>
New 3D measurements of large redwood trees for biomass and structure. Nature / UCL<p>Measuring the trees more accurately is important because carbon capture will probably play a key role in the battle against climate change. Forest <a href="https://www.wri.org/blog/2020/09/carbon-sequestration-natural-forest-regrowth" target="_blank">growth could absorb billions of tons</a> of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.</p><p>"The importance of big trees is widely-recognised in terms of carbon storage, demographics and impact on their surrounding ecosystems," the authors wrote<a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank"> in the journal Nature</a>. "Unfortunately the importance of big trees is in direct proportion to the difficulty of measuring them."</p><p>Redwoods are so long lived because of their ability to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cope with climate change, resist disease and even survive fire damage</a>, the scientists say. Almost a fifth of their volume may be bark, which helps protect them.</p>
Carbon Capture Champions<p><span>Earlier research by scientists at Humboldt University and the University of Washington found that </span><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378112716302584" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Redwood forests store almost 2,600 tonnes of carbon per hectare</a><span>, their bark alone containing more carbon than any other neighboring species.</span></p><p>While the importance of trees in fighting climate change is widely accepted, not all species enjoy the same protection as California's coastal Redwoods. In 2019 the world lost the equivalent of <a href="https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/deforestation-and-forest-degradation" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">30 soccer fields of forest cover every minute</a>, due to agricultural expansion, logging and fires, according to The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).</p>
Pixabay<p>Although <a href="https://c402277.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/publications/1420/files/original/Deforestation_fronts_-_drivers_and_responses_in_a_changing_world_-_full_report_%281%29.pdf?1610810475" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the rate of loss is reported to have slowed in recent years</a>, reforesting the world to help stem climate change is a massive task.</p><p><span>That's why the World Economic Forum launched the Trillion Trees Challenge (</span><a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a><span>) and is engaging organizations and individuals across the globe through its </span><a href="https://uplink.weforum.org/uplink/s/uplink-issue/a002o00000vOf09AAC/trillion-trees" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Uplink innovation crowdsourcing platform</a><span> to support the project.</span></p><p>That's backed up by research led by ETH Zurich/Crowther Lab showing there's potential to restore tree coverage across 2.2 billion acres of degraded land.</p><p>"Forests are critical to the health of the planet," according to <a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a>. "They sequester carbon, regulate global temperatures and freshwater flows, recharge groundwater, anchor fertile soil and act as flood barriers."</p><p><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor">Reposted with permission from the </em><span><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor"><a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/03/redwoods-store-more-co2-and-are-more-enormous-than-we-thought/" target="_blank">World Economic Forum</a>.</em></span></p>
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
- Offshore Wind Power Is Ready to Boom. Here's What That Means for ... ›
- American Skyscrapers Kill an Estimated 600 Million Migratory Birds ... ›
Kentucky is coping with historic flooding after a weekend of record-breaking rainfall, enduring water rescues, evacuations and emergency declarations.
<div id="0f31c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="4290ab3e7ec4e142f8bce774bab39f03"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1366307788155219969" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Just got back from my office... downtown Beattyville Kentucky is not a pretty sight. @KySportsRadio… https://t.co/6nXwyMKtRb</div> — Tom Jones (@Tom Jones)<a href="https://twitter.com/8atticus/statuses/1366307788155219969">1614588136.0</a></blockquote></div>
<div class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="b41a2da6bf23cc19a5f38c2dc6c5f9fc"><div class="fb-post" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/dekalbtnfire/photos/a.924258171004562/3713119618785056/"></div></div>
Spring is coming. And soon, tree swallows will start building nests. But as the climate changes, the birds are nesting earlier in the spring.
- Spring Is Arriving Earlier Across the U.S. - EcoWatch ›
- Climate Change Leading to Fatal Bird Conflicts - EcoWatch ›
- The Unsettling Reason Why We're Seeing More Snowy Owls ... ›
Citigroup will strive to reach net-zero greenhouse gas pollution across its lending portfolio by 2050 and in its own operations by 2030, the investment group announced Monday.
- 20 Attorneys General Launch Climate Fraud Investigation of Exxon ... ›
- Exxon Plans to Increase Its Climate Pollution - EcoWatch ›
- Exxon to Slash 14,000 Jobs Worldwide as Oil Demand Drops ... ›