Discover more from Learning by Proxy with Vivek Srinivasan
$100 Billion Climate Pledge
A great wealth transfer is taking place under the pretence of climate reparation
If you were to break something which belongs to someone, the best thing that you can do is to offer to repair or replace it.
Many atrocities have been committed in the name of colonialism and when the peoples of a country feel that they have acted wrongly, they often offer to make a payment in reparation. Sometimes they even return looted artefacts back to the countries.
Climate Change is hurting countries in the tropics but many of these countries were not even a part of the industrial revolution and did not benefit from the pollution caused by burning coal and petroleum during the 19th and 20th centuries. Everyone needs to put a step forward to control climate change but the argument that many of these tropical and underdeveloped nations make is - On the one hand they are at the receiving end of rising sea levels and intense atmospheric activities such as droughts and hurricanes; on the other hand, they are being asked the curtain the growth of their economies to “save the planet”.
In 2009, the richest nations in the world decided to take responsibility for their greenhouse gas emissions that had caused global warming. They agreed that the tropical and poorer nations were the ones to disproportionately pay for the effects of global warming. It was only fair that they created a corpus that would serve as an investment in these nations to help them better prepare for the calamities that are visiting their doors and help them develop.
It was agreed that the richest nations in the world would create a corpus of $100 billion and over the next decade (before 2020) provide those funds through various programs to the poorer nations who did not partake in the emissions at the industrial scale.
Then for the next 5 years, they dragged their feet. As the pressure mounted these countries have been taking steps.
Wealthy nations are on track this year to meet their overdue $100-billion climate finance pledge to developing countries, three years later than promised, Germany's foreign minister Annalena Baerbock said on Tuesday.
Baerbock said donor countries met on Monday to discuss progress towards their pledge, made back in 2009, to transfer $100 billion per year from 2020 to vulnerable states hit by increasingly severe climate change impacts.
Sounds too good to be true?
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t.
So how bad is it really? Reuters came out with a blockbuster report.
ITALY helped a retailer open chocolate and gelato stores across Asia.
The United States offered a loan for a coastal hotel expansion in Haiti.
Belgium backed the film “La Tierra Roja,” a love story set in the Argentine rainforest.
And Japan is financing a new coal plant in Bangladesh and an airport expansion in Egypt.
In doing so, they broke no rules. That's because the pledge came with no official guidelines for what activities count as climate finance. Though some organizations have developed their own standards, the lack of a uniform system of accountability has allowed countries to make up their own. The U.N. Climate Change secretariat told Reuters it is up to the countries themselves to decide whether to impose uniform standards. Developed nations have resisted doing so.
The four countries defended their programs as sound. Japanese officials consider the power and airport projects green because they include cleaner technology or sustainable features. A U.S. official said the hotel project counts because it includes stormwater controls and hurricane protection measures. A Belgian government spokesman defended counting the grant for the rain-forest movie as climate finance because the film touches on deforestation, a driver of climate change. An Italian government official said Italy aims to consider climate in all of its financing but did not elaborate on how the chocolate stores met that goal.
There is no transparency on where or how the monies are being spent and there is no standard reporting structure that has been agreed upon by nations. This makes the entire process
resemble tantamount to greenwashing. The $100 Billion is being spent on the whims and fancies of those who are responsible for administering it.
More than $65 billion was reported so vaguely it is impossible to tell what the money was paid for. Some of those records don’t even specify the continent where the money was sent.
And more than $500 million was reported for projects that were later cancelled with no funds paid out. Countries are still claiming that funding toward their climate finance pledges.
To be sure, decisions to claim borderline projects as climate finance often don’t reflect a deliberate attempt to mislead, said Gaia Larsen, director of climate finance access at the World Resources Institute, a non-profit research organization that tracks climate finance. But when countries inflate their funding numbers with things like coal-fired power, she said, the result can resemble greenwashing – when companies make exaggerated or misleading claims about their environmental stewardship.
Some of the largest wealth transfer from the government to the rich has been taking place under the guise of climate financing over the last decade. If you knew the right people you could have got your next resort funded in some exotic destination.
It is not just the countries, even multi-lateral organisations seem to be adhering to the same playbook. An analysis published by the Breakthrough Institute along with the Centre for Global Development found…
The World Bank’s climate portfolio comprises almost $119 billion dollars in various types of funding that it will spend over the course of 23 years. Of that, it has already invested $37 billion between 2020 and 2022 to fund 2,554 climate projects from low- and middle-income countries, including 1,179 described as being focused on climate mitigation activities.
The researchers, who analyzed every project in the portfolio, found that a large number of the ones tagged as “climate” had little to nothing to do with it, and included instead administrative and bureaucratic projects: payment automation for salaries in Afghanistan, municipal transparency in Gaza, fiscal management in Benin.
These are incredible outlays of cash and they are being spent on ostensibly reducing the impact of climate change.
While these funds are being used the way they are; Canada is burning, Texas is drowning and being provided a heat alert at the same time. A conveyor belt of hurricanes is headed to Florida and would certainly tear up Puerto Rico and Cuba on the way.
Here in India, the state of Rajasthan is flooded - A state that is known for being a desert. At the other extreme, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh are also flooded. In the middle, Uttar Pradesh recorded 54 deaths due to heat and the doctor who blamed the heat was promptly fired, the PR spin is more important than what is actually happening.
While all this takes place, the Prime Minister of the country is busy schmoozing with Congress in the US and closing weapons purchase agreements!