TWN Info Service on Climate Change (Jul17/03)
12 July 2017
Third World Network
Will South get promised help on climate change mitigation?
Published in SUNS #8499 dated 11 July 2017
Hamburg, 10 Jul (D. Ravi Kanth) -- The leaders of the Group of 20 developed and
developing countries on Saturday failed to reach consensus at Hamburg for
implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change, jeopardising help for
The failure to reach consensus raised fundamental questions whether the
developed countries will provide financial and other resources to the
developing countries for "mitigation and adaptation actions" because
of the exit of the United States, people familiar with the negotiations told
The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, on Saturday "deplored" the
unilateral position of the US to walk out of the Paris Agreement.
"I think it's very clear that we could not reach consensus, but the
differences were not papered over, they were clearly stated," Merkel told
reporters at the end of the two-day meeting. "It's absolutely clear it is
not a common position."
The United States, which remained isolated at the two-day meeting, declared its
unilateral stand to "immediately cease the implementation of its current
nationally-determined contribution" and to pursue strategies based on
The US said it will "work closely with other countries to help them access
and use fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently and help deploy renewable and
other clean energy sources, given the importance of energy access and security
in their nationally-determined contributions."
But the remaining 19 leaders of the developed and developing countries said
categorically that their position on the Paris Agreement is
They reiterated "the importance of fulfilling the UNFCCC [United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change] commitment by developed countries in
providing means of implementation including financial resources to assist
developing countries with respect to both mitigation and adaptation actions in
line with Paris outcomes."
The 19 countries reaffirmed their "strong commitment to the Paris
Agreement, moving swiftly towards its full implementation in accordance with
the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective
capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances."
Effectively, if the rest of the world continues along the path of implementing
their own targets and commitments, the United States, the world's richest
country, will become a "free rider".
Significantly, the 19 countries also unveiled the G20 Hamburg Climate and
Energy Action Plan for Growth.
It emphasized "the commitment by developed countries to the goal of mobilising
jointly USD 100 billion per year by 2020, and their intention to continue this
through 2025, in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency
on implementation, from public and private sources, for mitigation and
adaptation in developing countries, taking into account their needs and
But the moot issue is whether the developed countries will be able to stick to
their commitment of mobilizing USD 100 billion per year by 2020 after the US
created the biggest crack in the financial mechanism for meeting the mitigation
and adaptation commitments of the developing and the poorest countries.
The Hamburg Climate and Energy Action Plan for Growth is replete with best
endeavour commitments based largely on public-private mechanisms of raising
finances as well as finance to be provided by multilateral development banks
The plan says, "we take note of the mobilisation of climate finance by
MDBs and recognise their efforts to support climate action, including the joint
statement by MDBs at COP21. MDBs' ability to provide large-scale financing,
their potential to leverage private climate finance, and their presence around
the globe place them in a good position to contribute to the transition to an
increased adaptive capacity and a low greenhouse gas emission and
climate-resilient development, including the achievement of related SDGs."
"Enhanced MDB climate actions will facilitate an effective response to
client countries' demands, including by cooperating with national and regional
institutions and fostering the mainstreaming of climate dimensions into
development," the plan suggested.
Asked to clarify whether there will be a serious problem for financing the
mitigation and adaptation commitments, India's sherpa Arvind Panagariya told
SUNS that the issue is addressed in the declaration as well as the Hamburg
But an Oxfam economist who was present at the meeting acknowledged the problem
of financing the mitigation and adaptation commitments since the US will not
make any contributions.
"The US pullout of Paris and Trump's decision to not honour the US pledge
towards the Green Climate Fund leaves a highly problematic gap in urgently
needed funds to assist the world's poorest and most vulnerable in adapting to a
changing climate. However, Trump's moves do not alter the obligation the US and
other rich countries have to provide such support," Sasanka Thilakasiri,
Oxfam's senior Policy Advisor, told SUNS.
"While for now the Green Climate Fund still has resources to spend, it
will soon have to be refilled," he said, emphasizing that "there will
be a role for all developed countries to find new sources of finance which
could include beyond government budgets, sub-national actors, MDBs and other
On climate finance as well as other issues concerning the commitments made by
the developed countries in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the Hamburg
declaration failed to provide explicit commitments that will sustain the
implementation of mitigation and adaption programs in the poor and developing
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