Friday

6th Dec 2019

EU funding offer sparks anger at Cancun

  • Climate campaigners from the global south have rounded on the 'creative accounting' by the EU aid for low-carbon development (Photo: Peter Bischoff/MS ActionAid Denmark)

In one of the first major announcements at UN climate talks in Cancun, Mexico, the EU has released details of its contribution to ‘fast-start' funding to help poorer nations deal with the adverse effects of climate change over the short-term.

But aid agencies and governments from developing countries quickly rounded on the news when it became clear that roughly half the money would be in the form of loans or equity in local companies, rather than grants.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

Wrangling over the ‘fast-start' funding has led to a major breakdown in trust between rich and poor nations over the past year.

A pledge of $30 billion in "new and additional" money between 2010 and 2012 for poorer nations was one of the few concrete initiatives to come out of Copenhagen last December, but since then richer nations have appeared reluctant to stump up the cash.

Outlining Europe's contribution to the pot on Tuesday (30 November), expected to total €7.2 billion over the three years, EU chief negotiator Artur Runge-Metzger said loans, rather than grants, could provide a "win-win" situation for both sides.

"When it comes to mitigation actions you find that … consumers can repay loans, in other words, finance can be used like a revolving fund," he said.

"In that way, funds can be repaid and used by others. You don't need grants. It would be a waste of money because the individual pays for itself. You have to make best use of peoples' money," he added.

Mr Runge-Metzger later clarified to the Guardian newspaper that EU loans to poorer nations were frequently made on a "highly concessional basis", including a major grant element of up to 75 percent.

Critics said loans were totally unacceptable however, and would simply saddle developing nations with more debt.

They added that closer analysis of developed-country pledges showed much of it be re-cycled money, therefore failing to reach the "new and additional" criteria laid down in Copenhagen.

Together with Europe's €7.2 billion offer, Japan has pledged $15.4 billion and the US $1.7 billion over the three-year period.

NGOs argue that the practice of double-counting money from former promises is adding to confusion and a feeling of mistrust on the part of developing nations. "Countries are definitely using creative accounting to cover up for their shortfalls," said Tim Gore, Oxfam's senior climate advisor.

As well the tough discussions on short-term assistance, talks also got underway on a Green Fund which negotiators at Copenhagen last year decided should be able to raise $100 billion a year from 2020 onwards to help poorer nations fight climate change over the longer-term.

Timmermans warns on cost of inaction on climate

The Green Deal commissioner, Frans Timmermans, said the costs of inaction in climate policy are "tremendously high". However, it is still unclear if member states will unanimously agree on the EU's 2050 climate-neutrality goal at next week's summit.

EU agency: 'Europe will not meet 2030 climate goals'

The European Environmental Agency's latest report predicts that Europe will not achieve its 2030 climate and energy targets "without urgent action during the next 10 years". As a result, the social systems of production and consumption must be transformed.

Investigation

Pesticide producers push back to halt EU ban

A majority of EU member states are believed to be in favour of not renewing approval for the pesticides chlorpyrifos and chlorpyrifos-methyl, when they meet in Brussels later this week.

Three EU chiefs present 'green revolution' at Madrid COP25

The presidents of the European Commission, Parliament and Council on Monday all attended the UN climate conference (COP25) in Madrid to ensure that Europe speaks with 'one voice' about the challenges of climate change.

COP25 talks open in Madrid, with focus on carbon market

About 200 heads of government and state and more than 25,000 delegates from all over the world, will gather at the UN climate conference (COP25) on Monday to negotiate on a carbon market system and establish a common time frame.

Focus

Thunberg rejects climate prize in hometown Stockholm

The Nordic Council's prestigious annual awards ceremony this year turned into a youth revolt, with climate activist Greta Thunberg declining the environment prize and another winner criticising the Danish prime minister for racism.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Latest News

  1. Migrants paying to get detained in Libyan centres
  2. Searching for solidarity in EU asylum policy
  3. Will Michel lead on lobbying transparency at Council?
  4. Blood from stone: What did British PR firm do for Malta?
  5. EU Commission defends Eurobarometer methodology
  6. Timmermans warns on cost of inaction on climate
  7. Development to fuel change
  8. Does EU have role in stopping backsliding in Georgia?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us