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Climate finance after the New York summit: will Australia lift its game?

Julie Bishop speaking at the 2014 Climate Summit in New York

The recent UN summit in New York aimed to reinvigorate global action on climate change ahead of a new agreement planned to be signed in Paris in late 2015. Climate finance for developing countries was billed as one of the summit’s major areas for action. But how much progress did the summit make on financing, and what does it all mean for Australia’s role?

Pledges aplenty – but a long way to go

The summit managed to generate a number of significant announcements on funding. Some of the biggest-ticket announcements came from the private sector. But, as the summit emphasised, public finance still has a vital role to play in addressing climate-related needs that struggle to attract private investment, notably for adapting to the adverse impacts of climate change. I’ll focus here on pledges of public finance made by national governments.

Perhaps the most notable announcement was France’s pledge to the UN Green Climate Fund (GCF) of US$1 billion over four years. This followed hot on the heels of an equal contribution by Germany in July. Along with a range of other smaller pledges from developed and developing countries, this brought resources committed to the GCF to around $2.3 billion in total.

Despite these moves, other major economies—including the US, Japan and the UK—kept their powder dry. As a result, there’s still a long way to get to the $10 billion target proposed for the GCF. And even if that target is reached, they’ll only make up a modest slice of the $100 billion a year in climate finance that wealthy countries have committed to mobilise by 2020.

Australia’s statement: a look-in for climate finance?

Much has been said about Australia’s lacklustre performance at the summit in failing to boost its inadequate emissions reduction targets. (One of the …read more

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