icon icon icon icon icon icon icon

TIME: The G7 Want to Save the World from Climate Change. But Are They Willing to Pay for It?

For many observers, the G7’s credibility as world leaders will depend on whether or not they cough up money that poorer countries badly need to overhaul their economies and infrastructure to reduce emissions and adapt to the shifting climate. The world’s developed countries pledged in 2015 to raise $100 billion in this kind of climate financing for developing countries each year from 2020 onwards, recognizing that climate change has largely been caused by the emissions of wealthier countries. The most recent numbers suggest that they are falling $20 billion a year short of that goal. Only a fifth of current spending is directed to adaptation, and the rest towards emissions reductions, even though the promise was for a 50/50 split.

A June report by Danish charity Care International found that only three countries—the U.K., New Zealand and Luxembourg—have announced plans to increase their spend, meaning international climate finance would increase by just $1.6 billion in 2021 and 2022. It called on G7 countries to double their international finance by 2025. With huge pressure for G7 countries to spend domestically at the moment, Gross says a big part of the finance they mobilize will likely be private, through tools like guarantees to remove risks for businesses that invest in developing countries.

As climate change increasingly drives sea-level rise and hugely destructive storms, and disrupts agriculture, the underfunding of climate adaptation is becoming a clear moral failing of rich countries, and a major bone of contention between developed and developing countries.

But failure to provide climate financing would also be a geopolitical risk. Take the G7’s pledge to end overseas coal funding. Analysts say it could pressure China to follow suit. But if wealthy countries don’t rapidly replace coal funding with ambitious investments in clean energy, developing countries may be forced to go to China for fossil fuel projects to boost their COVID-19 recoveries and protect their energy security.

Climate migration is also a concern. Extreme weather events and natural disasters displaced three times as many people as conflict did in 2020 and the U.S. is witnessing the consequences at its southern border, where hurricanes Eta and Iota have helped to cause a surge in arrivals from Central America. Though most climate migrants move within their own country, the phenomenon will drive disruption, instability and conflict around the world.

Read the full story at TIME

Back to Top