A new UK parliament report acknowledged that the UK is unlikely to meet one of its key goals for its Presidency of the COP26 international climate conference - confirming high-income countries' commitment to providing $100.0 billion in climate finance for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The report notes that the failure to achieve this goal will damage the level of trust between negotiating parties, making it harder to make progress on key UK goals for the upcoming COP26.
The UK government set out four key goals for its Presidency of COP26:
- Have all participating countries submit more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), that commit to further cuts in carbon emissions by 2030;
- Have all countries commit to reaching net-zero emissions as soon as possible;
- Ensure that high-income countries honor their commitment to providing US$100.0 billion dollars a year in climate finance for LMICs and climate-vunlerable countries; and,
- Agree on a package that furthers the Paris Agreement.
Progress is observable for most goals, but the UK parliament acknowledged that the government is likely to miss its goal of having all high-income countries honor their commitment to provide US$100.0 billion dollars per year in climate finance for LMICs.
The original commitment to provide US$100.0 billion in climate finance to LMICs was made by high-income countries in 2009 and has been reiterated at key meetings following its initial proposal and ratification. While final figures will not be available on climate finance until 2022, it is generally accepted that the 2020 goal has not been met. The most recent figures available are dated to 2019 and show that only US$79.6 billion has been raised in climate finance so far. The UK has committed to increasing its commitments to £11.6 billion (US$15.6 billion) in the next four years, and recent pledges by the US, Germany, and Canada mean that total pledges may currently hover around US$10.0 billion short of the target.
The report is clear that this shortcoming will have a negative impact on the level of trust between countries and is likely to make it difficult to make ambitious progress on other key UK goals at COP26. LMICs are being asked to cut their own future emissions while being most-vulnerable to climate change as a result of high-income countries’ historic emissions.
The report also highlights tensions in the type of financing that high-income countries are providing to LMICs as climate finance. Target countries have indicated a clear preference for climate finance to be provided in the form of grants, not loans. However, most public climate finance to date has been provided as loans. In 2019, around 79% of the US$79.6 billion in climate finance provided to LMICs was from governments, and loans comprised 71% of this funding. The UK, to its credit, has provided most of its climate finance as grants. 87% of UK climate finance between 2014 and 2021 was delivered as grants, totalling £4.9 billion (US$6.6 billion).
Report – UK Parliament