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Wealthy countries are falling short of their climate finance pledges, finds new analysis

As world leaders meet at the UN, Oxfam research finds developing nations could face a shortfall of up to $75bn compared with what was promised.

By Aisha Majid

Wealthy nations are set to fall $75bn short of fulfilling the $600bn in climate finance promised to the most vulnerable countries between 2020 and 2025, according to analysis by Oxfam. 

The research comes as world leaders, led by the UN secretary-general António Guterres and Boris Johnson, meet today in the sidelines of the UN General Assembly to discuss stepping up support to help the poorest countries tackle the climate crisis.

Oxfam’s analysis, which uses current pledges and plans to determine future climate finance levels, finds that between 2020 and 2025 developing countries will miss out on between $68bn (lower estimate) and $75bn (upper estimate) of the money promised to help them reduce their emissions and adapt to the most dangerous effects of climate change.

On 17 September, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) published figures showing that developed countries provided around $80bn in climate finance in 2019. While this was almost $30bn more than the $52bn given in 2013, the OECD said progress between 2018 and 2019 has been “disappointing”. 

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In 2009, developed countries committed to increase climate finance to developing countries to $100bn a year by 2020. At 2015’s COP21 summit in Paris, world leaders agreed to extend this goal to 2025.

Oxfam has also raised concerns about the amount of climate finance provided in the forms of loans rather than grants. 70 per cent of public climate finance was in the form of loans in 2019, reports the charity, risking pushing vulnerable countries further into debt.

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[See also: “Dangerous climate change has arrived”: IPCC report is a warning to the world ahead of COP26]