Politics of Poverty

Who was willing to talk dollars and cents at this week’s UN Climate Summit?

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Hundreds of thousands of activists came together for the People's Climate March in September to demand that government and business leaders take bold action. Photo: Coco McCabe / Oxfam America

Rich countries just promised $1.3 billion to help developing countries address climate change, bringing the total promised to $2.4 billion. So that means… $12.6 billion to go.

Annaka Peterson Carvalho is the Senior Program Officer of the Adaptation Finance Accountability Initiative, led by World Resources InstituteOverseas Development Institute, and Oxfam.

After spending the day listening to leaders talk about their actions to address climate change, my takeaway on climate financing at this week’s UN Climate Summit? Some good steps, but we still have a long way to go if rich countries are going to help Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner keep the promise she made to her daughter.

Earlier this summer I blogged about the commitments countries need to make to get the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to its $15 billion target. Ban Ki Moon’s UN Climate Summit, which just concluded in New York, was a key moment for leaders to share their plans to pledge to the GCF. So what did we hear?

  • France: $1 billion
  • South Korea: $100 million (up to $100 million – includes previous commitment)
  • Norway: $33 million in 2015 (and additional pledge in November)
  • Denmark: $70 million
  • Switzerland: $100 million
  • Mexico: $10 million
  • Luxemburg: $6.8 million
  • Czech Republic: $5.5 million

Before the summit pledges from Germany and Sweden had also been announced:

  • Germany: $1 billion
  • Sweden: $42 million

That puts the total promised so far at nearly $2.4 billion


Can the GCF make it to $15 billion before the climate talks in Lima in December?

There is still a long way to go if rich countries’ pledges are to add up to the $15 billion goal. The table shows indicative contributions required to reach the $15 billion goal compared to promises to date. Will rich countries be leaders or laggards in efforts to address climate change and provide life-saving climate assistance?


At the November GCF pledging conference we will be keeping our eyes out for commitments from those leaders that were silent today, and looking for further details about the promises that have been made so far. Let’s hope the voices of the half million people that marched to demand climate action on Sunday are heard and countries come to the table with money for the GCF.

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