Zainab Usman of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Olumide Abimbola of the Africa Policy Research Institute join Gyude to discuss the implications of the European Green Deal for Africa, the outcomes of COP26, and the impacts of the climate crisis on pandemic recovery.
CGD Policy Blogs
Last Friday, the Government of Belize alongside the U.S. Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and the Nature Conservancy (TNC) announced the financial close of the largest blue bond for Ocean Conservation to date. The program enables Belize to convert its existing Eurobond (i.e. foreign currency bonds issued on the international market) into blue debt that it will use to implement its national marine conservation agenda.
The pledge to mobilize $100bn a year in climate finance remains a central pillar of negotiations but developed nations are still falling short on both quantity and quality.
The world’s poorest countries—those classified as low- and lower-middle-income—contribute just one seventh of global emissions despite being home to half of the global population. A just solution to these countries’ dual challenges of climate change and development should be a central concern of the COP, and political realities suggest the best thing richer countries could do in that regard is develop cost-competitive low carbon technologies as a byproduct of speeding their own path to decarbonization.
With COP26 about to get underway, many of the opportunities and tensions inherent in the international community’s approach to supporting climate change transformation are rising to the surface. Within the rich body of work which is ongoing within this area, CGD’s focus is on shaping and improving climate and finance policy to ensure it does the most for the development, and the planet. We hope that national leaders will use this moment to make credible, ambitious emissions-reduction plans for the future, and commit to better quality of climate finance to address challenges in the most vulnerable countries. As finance is shifted towards climate challenges, if providers do not focus on the effectiveness of that investment as part of a coherent system of policies then neither climate nor development goals will be achieved.
At a glance, it would seem that if you want to tackle climate finance, you ought to look to institutions with “climate” in the name. Yet, whatever the longer-term potential of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the reality is that it has committed just $10 billion and disbursed a meager $1.7 billion in climate financing since it commenced operations in 2015. Of these total commitments, just $2.5 billion have gone toward adaption, suggesting that actual disbursement of adaption funds number in the low hundreds of millions.
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.
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.
Recent extreme weather events in the US, Canada, Europe and beyond have shown the high-income countries how vulnerable it is to climate change—a feeling that lower- and middle-income countries have known for years. Germany’s actions over the past decade on climate finance have established it as a leader with climate negotiations and commitments on climate finance at a critical moment.
Today, we publish the 2021 Commitment to Development Index (CDI), which tracks powerful countries’ policy efforts on development across eight important areas, from development finance to migration. One of the CDI’s focal areas is the environment, which matters for everyone but is especially critical to people in lower-income countries. In a key year for climate negotiations, the CDI can tell us which countries are doing well on policies to protect the environment and which have room for improvement.