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‘Disappointing’ Climate Finance Pledges at Bonn Conference Despite Calls on Wealthy Nations to Increase Commitments Ahead of COP28

by Martina Igini Global Commons Oct 9th 20233 mins
‘Disappointing’ Climate Finance Pledges at Bonn Conference Despite Calls on Wealthy Nations to Increase Commitments Ahead of COP28

The UN failed short of a US$10 billion target after the US and other wealthy nations failed to fulfil their climate finance pledges at a crucial climate financing conference held last week in Bonn, Germany.

Last week’s Bonn conference on climate change witnessed a significant setback as the US and other rich countries failed to fulfil their pledge to the UN Climate Fund, further widening the gap between developed and developing nations and raising concerns about the global effort to combat climate change and support vulnerable nations in their adaptation and mitigation efforts.

The climate funding conference, held last Thursday in Bonn, Germany, brought together delegates from around the world to advance discussions on climate finance and encourage countries to fulfil their commitments made under the Paris Agreement. However, wealthy nations fell short of a US$10 billion target, managing to raise only $9.3 billion, only a fraction of what the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) says is needed by developing countries by 2030 to adapt to the rapidly deteriorating climate crisis

In a report published ahead of the Bonn meeting, the UNFCCC called on “increased finance in areas that are deemed priority by developing countries.” This includes an increase of adaptation finance to $200-250 billion by 2030 and an increase in loss and damage compensation to $200-240 billion.

A total of 25 countries added cash to the world’s largest dedicated fund helping developing countries respond to climate change on Thursday, including Japan, which said it would contribute up to 165 billion yen ($1.11 billion) over the next four years, and Norway, which offered around $300 million. Nevertheless, the absence of funding pledges by the world’s two largest polluters, the US and China, as well as other wealthy countries including Australia, Italy, and Sweden, has dealt a blow to the aspirations of developing nations, many of which are already grappling with the adverse impacts of climate change and are struggling to  transition to low-carbon economies. 

A US representative said the country is “working on” an announcement, though the recent political turmoil and battles to avoid a government shutdown after Kevin McCarthy, the US House Speaker, was ousted last week, have stymied efforts to secure money. The US had pledged a substantial amount to the fund as part of its commitment to international climate action. China, on the other hand, has yet to commit to the UN Climate Fund, according to Reuters

The Bonn conference served as a crucial platform for negotiations ahead of the upcoming COP28 summit, set to begin in less than two months in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. 

Several points remain to be settled in Dubai, including the still-unmet $100 billion pledge made by rich nations in 2009, which was supposed to be delivered by 2020, as well as the loss and damage fund, a historic deal reached at last year’s UN climate summit, COP27.

Commenting on the conference’s outcome, Sultan Al Jaber, COP28 president-designate and chief executive of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), said the “current level of replenishment” was “neither ambitious nor adequate to meet the challenge the world faces.”

The failure to deliver on the UN Climate Fund pledge at the Bonn conference serves as a stark reminder of the challenges that lie ahead in addressing climate change. As the international community prepares for the COP28 summit, it is crucial for nations to recommit to their climate finance obligations and work towards bridging the divide between wealthy and developing nations. The United States, in particular, must take immediate action to fulfil its pledge to the UN Climate Fund and demonstrate its leadership in global climate action.

You might also like: Climate Finance: Are Rich Nations Doing Enough?

Tagged: climate finance

About the Author

Martina Igini

Martina is the Managing Editor at Earth.Org. She holds two BA degrees, in Translation/Interpreting Studies and Journalism, and a MA in International Development from the University of Vienna. After working at the United Nations Global Communication Department in Vienna, she joined a newspaper in Italy as a reporter before moving to Hong Kong in 2020. Her interests include sustainability and the role of public policy in environmental protection with a focus on developing countries.

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