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Nithin Coca headshot

Rapid Reaction: Progress on Climate Finance in Latest Draft


The latest draft of the Paris Agreement is out today, Dec. 10, seven hours late, but with, finally, some real changes in the text -- most notably including the goal of 1.5 degrees that many in the Climate Vulnerable Forum were fighting for.

As we wrote about earlier this COP, climate finance is one of the most contentious issues, and thus far, the agreement includes several provisions previously agreed to, and a few positive changes. It's not enough, but hopefully it means more will come.

Here are some highlights

The $100 billion floor: The amount decided for the Green Climate Fund is specifically designated as a floor, not a ceiling. This is very important because nearly all analysts say that this number must be scaled much, much higher if we are to reach 2050 goals for both mitigation and adaptation.

Adaptation finance: The agreement makes it clear that adaptation finance has to be balanced with mitigation finance, which is key because, thus far, adaptation (adjusting to existing climate change impacts) – which is crucial to vulnerable countries -- only made up 16 percent of existing climate finance.

Loss and damage is in!: A key point of concern for many countries was made much clearer, having its own section. It mentions insurance, a potential relocation mechanism, and early warning systems. The exact mechanism for determining loss and damage is still uncertain, but the two options in the draft text include some form of a mechanism, which is a good step.

What's not so good ...

Vague language on the Green Carbon Fund: There is not much clarity about where funding sources will come from, and how the GCF will be scaled up after 2020. Moreover, there are still lots of brackets (i.e., text that is still open for debate as talks continue) on the nature of the money that will be raised. In addition, funding for loss and damage is still vague, with no mention of how funds will be raised or dispersed.

Liability: The loss and damage section includes language that explicitly disallows liability or compensation. Developing countries were not pushing for this being included, but the inclusion of this language is probably a victory for the U.S. (which was concerned about legal liability) and could have long-term implications for the strength of loss and damage.

Forests: Another issue is that REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) -- the primary mechanism for reducing emissions from forests – is only suggested, not an official mechanism. Remember the news about Indonesia's enormous fires, quite possibly the largest in human history, in one of the world's most biodiverse, tropical forest countries, emitting massive amounts of greenhouse gases? If we are to meet pre-2020 emissions reduction goals, cutting emissions from agricultural sources such as deforestation is crucial. The fact that this is not more clearly stated may mean that we'll see more fires in the months, and years, to come.

What's next?

There are still a few "brackets" – undecided or unclear text – in the agreement, and few options (choices yet to be made by negotiators) that have to be ironed out. We've got one more day until COP21 is supposed to close, and rumors are flying that the talks may be extended. Getting to this point has been an incredible journey, and we are now one step closer to what we really want – a real, strong, binding climate agreement.

Need to catch up on the action? Read it all here.

Image credit: Le centre d'information d'eau France

Nithin Coca headshotNithin Coca

Nithin Coca is a freelance journalist who focuses on environmental, social, and economic issues around the world, with specific expertise in Southeast Asia.

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