Madrid — A few days before the United Nations Climate Conference (COP27) in Egypt (November 6-18), new revelations show how rich and industrialized countries – those who contribute most to growing disasters – have been lying on their actual contributions to climate finance.
The true value of climate finance is a third of what developed countries report reveals that many wealthy countries are using ‘dishonest and misleading’ accounting ‘to inflate’ their climate finance contributions to developing countries – in 2020 by up to 225 %, according to Oxfam International surveys.
Inflate the numbers
The report estimates between just US$21 billion and US$24.5 billion as the “true value” of climate finance provided in 2020, compared to a reported figure of US$68.3 billion in public funding that rich countries say was provided (alongside private finance mobilized, bringing the total to US$83.3 billion).
Contributions from rich countries not only continue to fall miserably below their promised target, but are also very misleading by often counting the wrong things the wrong way. They exaggerate their own generosity by painting a rosy picture that obscures what really goes to poor countries
Nafkote Dabi, head of climate policy at Oxfam International
The global climate finance target is supposed to be US$100 billion per year, an amount slightly higher than the US$83 billion that the world’s largest nuclear powers have spent in a single year – 2021, on such weapons. of mass destruction.
In addition, “the combined profits of the largest energy companies in the first quarter of this year are close to 100 billion US dollars”, UN Secretary General António Guterres said already last August, adding that he was “immoral” that big oil and gas companies are making “record profits” while prices are soaring.
Moreover, “the contributions of the rich countries not only continue to fall miserably below the promised target, but are also very misleading by often counting the wrong things the wrong way. They exaggerate their own generosity by painting a rosy picture that obscures how much is really going to poor countries,” said Nafkote Dabi, climate policy officer for Oxfam International.
“Our global climate finance is a broken train: radically flawed and putting us at risk of reaching a catastrophic destination. There are too many loans indebting poor countries that are already struggling to cope with climate shocks.”
There are too many “dishonest” and “shady” reports. The result is that the most vulnerable countries remain ill-prepared to deal with the wrath of the climate crisis, Dabi warned.
The “manipulation” of rich countries
Oxfam research has found that instruments such as loans are reported at face value, ignoring repayments and other factors. Too often, funded projects are less climate-focused than indicated, making the net value of support specifically directed to climate action significantly lower than the actual reported climate finance figures.
Currently, loans dominate the provision of more than 70% ($48.6 billion) of public climate finance, worsening the debt crisis in developing countries.
“Forcing poor countries to repay a loan to deal with a climate crisis they barely caused is deeply unfair. Instead of supporting countries facing worsening droughts, cyclones and floods, rich countries are crippling their ability to cope with the next shock and worsening their misery.”
Least developed countries’ external debt repayments reached US$31 billion in 2020.
This “funding” is mainly based on loans
“A climate finance system that relies primarily on loans only makes the problem worse. Wealthy nations, especially the most polluting ones,” Dabi said.
A critical way to prevent large-scale climate catastrophe is for developed countries to fulfill their US$100 billion pledges and genuinely address the current climate finance accounting holes. “Manipulating the system will only mean that poor nations, those least responsible for the climate crisis, will foot the climate bill,” Dabi said.
Blocking all efforts
Other findings from this global confederation which includes 21 member and affiliate organizations reveal that an average of 189 million people a year have been affected by extreme weather events in developing countries since 1991 – the year a mechanism was proposed for the first time to address the costs of climate impacts on low-income countries.
The report, The Cost of Delay, by the Loss and Damage Collaboration – a group of more than 100 researchers, activists and policymakers from around the world – highlights how rich countries have repeatedly blocked their efforts to provide dedicated funding to developing countries. development that bear the costs of a climate crisis that they did little to cause.
Six fossil fuel companies
“Analysis shows that in the first half of 2022, six fossil fuel companies combined have earned enough money to cover the cost of major extreme weather and climate events in developing countries and they still have nearly 70 billions of dollars in profits.”
The report finds that 55 of the most climate-vulnerable countries suffered climate-induced economic losses totaling more than half a trillion dollars in the first two decades of this century, as fossil fuel profits soar, leaving people in some of the world’s poorest places to pick up the tab.
Great benefits. And mass deaths
It also reveals that the fossil fuel industry made enough super-profits between 2000 and 2019 to cover the costs of climate-induced economic losses in 55 of the most climate-vulnerable countries, or almost sixty times more.
The report estimates that since 1991, developing countries have recorded 79% of recorded deaths and 97% of the total recorded number of people affected by the impacts of extreme weather.
The analysis also shows that the number of extreme weather and climate-related events experienced by developing countries more than doubled during this period, with more than 676,000 people killed.
The African continent as a whole produces less than 4% of global emissions and the African Development Bank recently reported that the continent is losing between 5-15% of its gross domestic product (GDP) per capita growth due to climate change. .
Lyndsay Walsh, Oxfam’s climate policy adviser and co-author of the report, said: “It is an injustice that polluters who are disproportionately responsible for escalating greenhouse gas emissions continue to reap the rewards. these huge profits as climate-vulnerable countries have to foot the bill for climate impacts that destroy people’s lives, homes and jobs.”
Meanwhile, in addition to manipulating the numbers and pushing the poor deeper into debt, business is business as usual. The biggest polluters, the private fossil fuel companies, are making more and more profits, and politicians in rich countries are expected to increase their fossil fuel subsidies to nearly seven trillion by 2025.