Overview of UNFCCC Finance

by Bohdan Zymka

In an effort to prepare for the coming COP in Warsaw, Earth in Brackets presents a brief overview of finance under the UNFCCC.

The cost of climate change is rising. South Centre put the costs of mitigation and adaptation at 600 billion USD to 1.5 trillion USD per year, 5-10 times more then what has been pledged under the UNFCCC, and the costs of loss and damage have yet to be discussed. With no new money committed in Doha last year, finance is likely to be a contentious issue at COP19 in Warsaw, Poland.

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No money, mo’ problems

by Bogdan Zymka

The clock is winding down in Doha and as the negotiations press on, the blank ivory pages under finance in the LCA have burned into our pupils like the setting Doha sun. So far, the only financial support that has been pushed through the text is more market mechanisms, despite major opposition from the developing world. Markets run on a profit motive, not a climate motive, when you put money as the primary target, ambition falls to the wayside.

Developed parties have constantly re-iterated their previous commitments of 100bn by 2020 and their massive successes with the Fast-Start Finance (FSF), a target of 30bn in climate finance from 2010 to 2012. 30bn in two years seems like a feat, and if it were any good, a great model for the future of climate finance. The problems come to light with a closer examination of the FSF period and whether it follows the mandates for climate finance.

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Financing & Addressing Climate Change: Root Problems with Climate Finance

by Bogdan Zymka

Whether you like it or hate it with every atom in your being, money is what makes the world go-round these days.  It is the same with climate finance; you can’t have implementation without the means to do so.

Climate change has already caused billions of dollars’ worth of damage and is likely to cause billions more in the coming years. Besides the damage that has already been done, countries are negotiating how to fund future climate change initiatives like adaptation, mitigation, tech-transfer, and capacity building. According the South Centre’s Dr. Manuel Mantes, the costs of mitigation and adaptation alone could cost between $600 billion and $1 trillion in the coming years, 5-10 times more than the agreed $100 billion per annum by 2020.

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Standing Committee and Long-Term Finance under UNFCCC

by Bogdan Zymka

Finance is a crucial aspect of making the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change an effective regime. The finance system under the UNFCCC is extremely complex. The beginning of the financial mechanism was established under Article 11 of the convention: “A mechanism for the provision of financial resources on a grant or concessional basis, including for the transfer of technology, is hereby defined. It shall function under the guidance of and be accountable to the Conference of the Parties, which shall decide on its policies, programme priorities and eligibility criteria related to this Convention. Its operation shall be entrusted to one or more existing international entities.” The mechanism has since been expanded and defined to include several funds under the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and a Green Climate Fund (GCF) directly under the convention. 

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52%, Informed, Empowered, Mobilizing


by Bogdan Zymka

I came to Rio disillusioned. Months of studying Sustainable Development, the UN, arms trade, treaties, subsidiary bodies, institutional frameworks, jurisdictions, trade rules, embargoes, power struggles, internal politics, people’s faces, and people’s policies left me believing that a lot more harm than help is getting done at these conferences. I would go on Mahknovist rants about power hierarchies and local economies to the point where I got stuck in the position of the perpetual devil’s advocate.

Then, during the Youth Blast, an official space for youth to voice their opinions before the start of Rio +20, we held a workshop titled “The Future We Really Want” giving the youth a space to voice their frustrations, opinions, goals, and idealism. We made sure to give them a space that was truly theirs, free from power struggles, and free from high priced linen suits.

The workshop was split into two sections, the first a group activity where we split everyone into groups based on key topics from our “The Future We Really Want” document, Economics of Sustainable Development, Climate, Food Sovereignty, Biodiversity, Water, and Sustainable Cities. Each group came up with questions, ideas, and generally awesome concepts for us to include in the document. The second half, we brought everyone back together into two larger groups in order to discuss all the topics with the whole room.

This is where the youth really shined. The conversation quickly turned from politics to action. This is what I needed. 30+ young people in a room telling you “Look, we’re just as informed as you are, now what can we do, how can we help?” is just the right cure for a case of festering skepticism.

The youth are a lot better at asserting our ideals than our less youthful, more seasoned colleagues. I was reminded of this once in a class of mine about the Arms Trade when our professor asked, “Do you think a world without arms is possible?” to which most of the class answered with a solemn “No.” But there was a younger student from high school taking university courses with us who answered with a defiant “Of course!” and that’s the defining characteristic of the youth. As often as possible, we look outside of what is politically possible and tap into our stubborn idealism. I had always considered the youth as a radical voice of reason for our “leaders” that refuse to listen to us. But this workshop really brought it home. No longer am I disillusioned, and as cheesy as it’s been made by the oldies, I feel empowered and so do the 40+ youth that came to the workshop as well as the thousands here in Rio.

Now there is a group of (mostly men) negotiators, in their high-priced linen suits, in a room deciding the future for the 3,650,400,000 of us who won’t stand for it. Keep your eyes and ears open, the youth are informed and empowered, and we’re mobilizing.