Preceded by exuberant publicity that escalated people’s expectations, the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Summit turned out to be a disappointment. For many people, the incident dashed the hopes for legitimate global cooperation on combating climate change. Despite the inability to come up with a comprehensive revision of the Kyoto Protocol, (rich) countries did manage to agree on giving developing countries $100 billion per year to help them mitigate and adapt to global warming. As the next annual UN summit approaches, The Economist evaluates the global Green Climate Fund’s achievement and viability.
The Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) think tank found encouraging results; of the $100 billion promised in 2009, rich countries have fulfilled 97% of their promise. Private lender from these countries are the largest contributors, accounting for over 50% of the money given to developing countries. However, critics are unimpressed with these figures, claiming the definition of “climate-related schemes” in the CPI report was too broad. (Projects included in the study ranged from construction of railways to renewable energy to forestry.)
Nevertheless, the fact that the private sector has the capacity to fund green initiatives sheds light on the potential portfolio of funding sources in the future. The Economist provides a mathematical breakdown of channels for raising the $100 billion every year, suggesting that a fiscally and politically feasible plan actually exists. Hopefully the COP17 Climate Change Conference, due to commence in Durban on November 28, will come to a more fruitful end.