Time’s up for ‘too old, too rigid, too colonial’ climate finance, warns Fiji

Energy & Climate Change

From Karen Thomas in Glasgow

Global climate finance is unfit for purpose and is failing the countries hit hardest by climate change, Fiji’s climate and economy minister told COP26 yesterday.

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum told delegates that global climate finance is too old, too rigid and too rooted in colonial power structures to solve the crises now hitting Fiji and its fellow small-island developing states – known collectively in climate jargon as SIDS.

“We need to rethink how we fund and deploy climate finance, rather than die by a system that destroys the world by design,” he said.

Rich nations’ pledge to create a US$100 billion annual adaptation fund by 2020 to support the most vulnerable countries “is an unfinished pillar of the Paris Agreement”, Sayed-Khaium said. That money will not now materialise until 2023.

But Fiji and its fellow SIDS cannot wait for rich countries to dig deeper, he warned.

Fiji has already lived through one storm that unleashed in one day the volume of rain that hits London in a year. And in 2016, the category five storm Cyclone Winston wiped out a third of the country’s annual GDP in 36 hours.

Last year, Bangladesh climate negotiator Saleemul Huq told The Environment that of US$100 billion promised annually to help vulnerable countries to adapt, barely US$80 billion materialised last year – of which 80 per cent helped developed countries to cut their own emissions.

Sayed-Khaiyum was addressing the COP26 plenary session, Financing A More Resilient World, hosted by COP president Alok Sharma on the summit day dedicated to climate finance, hours after banks and asset managers representing 40 per cent of global financial assets pledged to deliver the Paris Agreement’s climate goals.

The 450 firms, members of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), represent US$130 trillion worth of assets. They have agreed to follow science-based guidelines to set interim goals to 2030 and to work to phase out carbon.

Sayed-Khaiyum urged financiers to develop more creative funding models, including debt swaps to fund nature-based solutions, but also urged them to double the sums available to help vulnerable nations to adapt to climate damage.

“In 2021, climate finance is every bit as volatile as the storms we face,” he warned.

More newsy bits from #COP26 in Glasgow, @KT_environment

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