High-Income Nations Are on Track Now to Meet $100 Billion Climate Pledges, but They’re Late
In 2009, wealthy countries pledged to spend $100 billion annually, starting in 2020, with money going to low-income nations impacted by climate change. But with wealthy nations falling short each year, trust has eroded. This year marks the first time that the wealthy nations are on track to meet the $100 billion target, Annalena Baerbock, foreign minister of Germany, shared during climate talks in Berlin.
Twelve years after the original pledges were made, the value of $100 billion is lower now than it was originally, said Sultan al Jaber, United Arab Emirates’ president-designate for COP28 (and managing director & group CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company). As Reuters reported, the annual total is still not enough to meet the needs of low-income countries to fight the impacts of climate change. In reality, countries may need to secure more than $1 trillion per year to help climate adaptation measures in low-income nations.
“Meeting the pledge this year might assuage wealthy countries’ guilt, but the needs have now escalated and so must the financial reparations,” said Avantika Goswami, program manager and climate change researcher at Centre for Science and Environment in New Delhi, as reported by Climate Change News.
Researchers in a recent study found that wealthy countries responsible for the most emissions were also causing extensive and costly harm to low-income countries as a result of climate change. For instance, the study found that the U.S. caused climate damages totaling $1.9 trillion between 1990 and 2014, while at the same time benefiting more than $183 billion.
While some countries, like France, Japan and Germany, that committed to the 2009 climate pledges have been providing their share of the $100 billion total each year, the U.S. has been named as one of the countries with the largest gaps. An analysis by Overseas Development Institute found that the U.S. has only contributed about 5% of its share, or $2 billion instead of the expected $43 billion.
In 2020, the first year the nations were meant to deliver $100 billion, they only provided $83.3 billion, falling far short of the goal.
“It is frankly an embarrassment that it hasn’t been possible to mobilise this money yet — especially taking into consideration that really, when being honest, we need trillions,” Dan Jorgensen, minister for global climate policy and development in Denmark, told Reuters. Still, Jorgensen is optimistic that once countries begin hitting the $100 billion target, additional negotiations can move forward during climate talks.
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