A central commitment of action on climate is the promise of “developed countries” to jointly mobilize $100 billion of climate finance per year by 2020 (and through to 2025). How does this promise—which developed countries have so far failed to reach—compare to the actual cost of the damage caused by their emissions? Today we publish a paper that answers that question by estimating the liability each country bears for the costs of damage caused by carbon emissions to date. We limit this liability with two assumptions. First, we only count damage from when international awareness of climate issues grew. Second, we reduce the cost applied to older emissions. These limitations are arguably conservative—and we consider other scenarios in the paper.
CGD Policy Blogs
With COP26 only weeks away, policymakers around the world are focusing renewed attention on the climate crisis—and the US Congress is no exception. An upcoming House Foreign Affairs hearing, convened jointly by the Subcommittee on International Development, International Organizations, and Global Corporate Social Impact and the Subcommittee on Europe, Energy, the Environment and Cyber, will profile US plans to combat climate change through development assistance.
This blog post was originally published by Brink News, and has been updated with a fuller chart of carbon pricing.
President Biden’s announced target to achieve a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions within a decade is a tremendous boon to the Paris Climate Agreement goals. Without diminishing the positives of this reset of US policy, it is still important to remember that, with any seismic shift, there will be winners and losers. Recent research has discussed the emerging challenge of fossil fuel producing countries, which risk losing entire swathes of their economies’ production capacities, and thus their wealth.
There is not enough ODA to cope adequately with existing development challenges, and yet it is now being charged with funding a large share of donor country commitments toward global climate finance. We think it should be doubled.
As we pas the 2020 deadline for $100 billion a year of climate finance we look at how much climate finance could be “new and additional” as the original commitment envisaged, and how much each country has contributed.
Our analysis suggests improvements need to be made to ensure mitigation funding has the intended impact. We estimate that a focus on effectiveness could plausibly reduce emissions by an amount equivalent to a year of the UK’s emissions. Here, we draw out three reforms that should accompany any new finance commitments.
Three ways that COP-26 could deliver for those countries are to properly define what counts as “new and additional” climate finance, make sure carbon markets rather than aid pays for the additional costs of mitigation in poorer developing countries, and agree to exempt the poorest countries from carbon tariffs.
Last week President Biden announced sweeping measures to reengage the US government in the fight against climate change. With US Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry suggesting the need for “humility and ambition,” we suggest five ways for the new US administration to be more ambitious on the international stage.
Humanitarians now see climate change as arguably the biggest threat they face. The trouble: They don't quite know what to do about it. The size and scope of the challenge goes well beyond the confines of the emergency aid system.