On Sunday 29 November, David Cameron will join other Heads of State and Government in Paris to kick off crucial 2-week talks on climate change, also known as COP21. This is the culmination of a year of dramatic developments – summarised here – with high hopes that that an agreement can be reached.
Arguably, the summit could already be viewed as as a success. For the first time ever, virtually all countries have – in the run up to the summit – made pledges for constraining emissions, known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). If implemented, these could have quite dramatic implications, such as a potential doubling of renewable energy supply in the eight major emitters by 2030 – 18% higher than previously projected growth rates.
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With less than one week to go before the Paris climate negotiations, a big area to watch will be whether developed countries are meeting the requirement to provide $100 billion a year by 2020 in funding for poor countries to adapt to climate change and reduce emissions. This may seem like a lot of money, but it pales in comparison to what needs to happen after COP21 to “shift the trillions” towards a low carbon economy.
To put this figure in context, the International Energy Agency estimates that subsidies to fossil fuels amounted to around $544 billion in 2012. The World Resources Institute say that by 2020, about $5.7 trillion will need to be invested annually in green infrastructure, much of it in the developing world. Others quote much higher figures, but the bottom line is that the amount of funding required to shift the global economy towards low carbon investment is in the scale of trillions rather than billions.
The “climate finance” debate is ultimately a fight over who is responsible for climate change and who has to pay.
Read the rest of this article on the World Economic Forum blog.