Center for American Progress on the UN’s High Level Advisory Group Report on Climate Change Financing

Washington, D.C.—(ENEWSPF)—November 5, 2010.

By Richard W. Caperton and Andrew Light

This morning, the UN’s High Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing delivered its final report to the UN Secretary General. The report contains much valuable information. In particular, the advisory group clearly concluded that directing 100 billion dollars per year to help developing nations avoid the catastrophic effects of climate change is “challenging but feasible.” Climate finance has been a key driver in moving climate negotiations forward, and this report will inform future negotiations.

Some may criticize the advisory group for not making firm recommendations on which types of financing to pursue. While we recognize the constraints of the group’s work, we share some of these concerns. In particular, we would like to see the group pay more attention to the important role of private capital in meeting countries’ climate finance commitment, and to the ways in which governments can leverage that capital.

On Tuesday, the Global Climate Network (GCN), a coalition of seven international think tanks of which the Center for American Progress is a part, released our own report on climate finance. Our research has found that there are clear policy tools that can help move private financing into developing countries to help avoid the worst climate change impacts. We narrowed in on specific and effective ways to spend this capital to maximize the returns on investment in four developing nations: China, India, South Africa, and Nigeria.

The GCN report findings include:

  • Capital expenditure across China, India, South Africa, and Nigeria must double from around $34 billion in 2009 to $63.6 billion between 2010 and 2020.
  • Excluding China, average annual investment needed is $15.93 billion – but these countries are only investing around $15.73 billion. India, South Africa and Nigeria are currently only investing $0.2 billion, a tiny fraction of what would be required to fulfill existing government ambitions.
  • Ignoring the contributions of private capital would be a fatal mistake in mobilizing the fight against climate change, especially given the fiscal constraints faced by most developed countries today.

The GCN and the UN’s Advisory Group have both found that the requisite level of financing is available, but that the challenge lies in mobilizing it toward the fight against climate change. Using public funds to leverage private capital will be one of the keys in making this capital flow to where it’s needed.

Read the GCN’s full report HERE.