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World needs $5 trillion in annual climate finance by 2030 for rapid action

A separate annual assessment by Climate Policy Initiative showed global climate finance averaged $632 billion in 2019 and 2020, a 10% rise from 2017-2018, but the rate of increase slowed from earlier years.

By: Thomson Reuters Foundation |
October 28, 2021 6:23:36 pm
smokeThe study called for a significant ramping up of investments to fight climate change, especially for developing countries. (Pixabay)

Climate finance needs to rise sharply to $5 trillion a year globally by 2030 to fund measures to fight climate change, researchers said on Thursday, warning that transformation across economies is too slow to meet international temperature goals.

From transport to agriculture and electricity, progress is lagging in all sectors on reducing planet-heating emissions at the pace required to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and avoid its worst effects, a study by five green groups found.

None of the 40 indicators it assessed are in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement goal of reining in average temperature rise to “well below” 2C, and ideally 1.5C, above preindustrial times. Of the indicators, 25 were judged to be “well off track” or “off track”, including using less dirty coal to generate power and boosting climate finance. But the study did note some bright spots, such as wider adoption of wind and solar energy, and more electric vehicles on the road.

“Although there are some encouraging signs of progress in a few sectors, overall global climate mitigation efforts are still falling woefully short,” said Sophie Boehm, one of the authors. Boehm, from the World Resources Institute, a U.S.-based think-tank that worked on the study, said the findings should provide a “clear-eyed view” of the effort needed as governments head to the U.N. COP26 climate summit that kicks off on Sunday. “We’re going to need world leaders at COP26 and beyond to ramp up that (climate) ambition and action immediately,” Boehm told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Two U.N. reports warned this week that the world is “way off track” to cap rising temperatures, with current national pledges set to result in an average 2.7 degrees Celsius temperature increase this century.

The COP26 conference in Scotland has been billed as the last major chance to galvanise the collective effort needed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, with scientists calling for greenhouse gas emissions to be cut by nearly half by 2030 to achieve that.

Sticking to the 1.5 degrees Celsius limit will not prevent extreme weather worsening or sea levels rising but is seen as vital to avert runaway impacts on humans and the planet’s ecosystems, including widespread hunger and forced migration.

‘Unrecognisable world’

The study called for a significant ramping up of investments to fight climate change, especially for developing countries.

Globally, it said finance must rise eightfold to meet the estimated $5 trillion needed annually for climate action by 2030 – or an average increase of $436 billion a year this decade.

A separate annual assessment released this month by analysis group Climate Policy Initiative showed global climate finance averaged $632 billion in 2019 and 2020, a 10% rise from 2017-2018, but the rate of increase slowed from earlier years.

“Climate finance is trending upward, but not nearly at the speed required,” said Surabi Menon, vice president of global intelligence at the U.S.-based ClimateWorks Foundation. “It’s imperative to support these (developing) countries with the financial and technological resources they need in order to equitably address climate change on a global scale,” the climate scientist added.

The study should serve as a “wake up call” that action must be taken before it is too late, said Kelly Levin, one of the authors and science chief at the multi-billion-dollar Bezos Earth Fund, started by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. “With every fraction of a degree of warming, we are increasingly having an unrecognisable world – and it’s not a world that we want to live in,” she said.

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