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Climate Finance – But We’re Already Spending Hundreds Of Billions For The Poor Countries

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As we all knew it would the climate change thing is coming down to money. Specifically, when do other people get more of ours? The problem with this being that we’re already spending hundreds of billions on sorting out climate change for all those poor folks in the poor countries out there:

Taxes on international transport could provide new flows of finance to developing countries to help them reduce greenhouse gas emissions and cope with the impacts of climate breakdown, a group of climate finance experts have said.

Rich countries are failing on their pledge to provide $100bn a year to help poor countries cope with the climate crisis, and the way in which climate finance is organised needs urgent reform, the six academics argue in an article in the journal Nature Climate Change.

That article is here:

At the 2009 Copenhagen climate negotiations, lagging action by the world’s wealthier nations on reducing emissions led developing countries to threaten to walk out. Their demand was a major promise of funding to help them cope with climate impacts and to do the work of reducing or avoiding emissions1. In response, developed nations committed to provide “scaled up, new and additional, predictable and adequate funding” to meet “a goal of mobilizing jointly US$100 billion per year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries”2. However, this US$100 billion per year climate finance promise had deep flaws, making it impossible to now assess whether it has been met. The original pledge stated that “this funding will come from a wide variety of sources, public and private, bilateral and multilateral, including alternative sources of finance”2, but specified no rules on what could be counted in those categories. As we embark upon a pivotal decade ahead for climate change, there is opportunity to take stock of what has come to pass since Copenhagen on climate finance and develop a functional post-2020 model.

OK, excellent, so let us start to work out what should indeed be included as part of that aid.

We should so start by reminding ourselves of the economic basics here. The poor countries need to have a method of generating more power. The process of their becoming not poor requires this.

If fossil fuels are the cheap method then that won’t beat climate change. If renewables are the cheap method then their new power stations won’t cost more than fossil, they’ll be cheaper.

So, making renewables cheap is part and parcel of that climate finance.

We can go further too, insist that all we need to do is power civilisation without fossil fuels and we’re done. So, cheap renewables solves the problem entirely.

Now think about what the rich countries have been doing. We’ve spent a couple of decades now subsidising solar and wind. Germany has spent at least a trillion doing so. The argument for the subsidy was that there are economies of scale – plus technological development from scale – and so we need to subsidise to get over the hump. Once we’ve done so then renewables are the cheap option and climate change is solved. That is, ludicrous solar feed in tariffs are part of the solution.

At which point, following that logic, then all the subsidy to renewablesd in hte rich world have been part of that climate finance. They’re what has made renewables cheap enough that they are the installation of preference. They’re all available at cheaper than fossil to the poor countries. That is indeed climate finance, that’s climate aid.

Which gives us our correct answer. When importuned by some poor country politician over climate finance we just respond “We already gave at the office”.

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