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COP24: World Bank doubles funds to needy countries to tackle climate change

Several hundreds of billions of dollars per year are estimated to be required to fund all the actions that need to be taken to curb climate change and help countries withstand its worst impacts.

Written by Amitabh Sinha |
Updated: December 4, 2018 12:43:51 am
World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva, the President of the UN General Assembly Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces, Prime Minister of Fiji and COP 23 President Frank Bainimarama, Andrzej Duda, President of Poland, Michal Kurtyka, President of the COP24, and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, from left, gather for the opening of the Climate Change Conference COP24 in Katowice, Poland, Monday, Dec. 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

The World Bank has brought some excitement at the ongoing climate change conference here with its announcement that it would provide needy countries about US$ 200 billion between 2021-2025 to help them take more ambitious climate actions, and build resilience against climate change. It said this would almost double its current five-year commitments for climate change.

Several hundreds of billions of dollars per year are estimated to be required to fund all the actions that need to be taken to curb climate change and help countries withstand its worst impacts. Developed countries have committed themselves to ‘mobilise’ at least US$ 100 billion every year from 2020 for this purpose, but most estimates show that this would be a small part of the required money.

Climate talks poland, COP24, COP24 Poland, Poland climate change summit, Katowice summit, COP24 Katowice, Indian express, Express explained, General view during the opening of COP24 UN Climate Change Conference 2018 in Katowice, Poland December 3, 2018. (REUTERS/Kacper Pempel)

The World Bank said about half of its newly promised money, US$ 100 billion, will come from its own resources, while the other half would be from two of its associates, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), as well as private funders. But it did not say whether the money would be provided in the form of loans or grants.

But significantly, the bank said that at least 25 per cent of this money, or US$ 50 billion, would be aimed for projects that would support climate adaptation, an area for which countries generally have been reluctant to provide money.

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“A key priority is boosting support for climate adaptation, recognising that millions of people across the world are already facing the severe consequences of more extreme weather events. By ramping up direct adaptation finance to reach around $50 billion over FY21-25, the World Bank will, for the first time, give this equal emphasis alongside investments that reduce emissions,” the bank said in a statement.

The announcement was welcomed at the climate conference here but people also wanted to see more details. “The World Bank’s announcement has come at a time when rich countries are failing to meet their commitment of putting together US$ 100 billion per year for developing countries. The figure of US$ 200 billion over the next five years, divided equally between mitigation and adaptation is a clear recognition that adaptation requires a lot more money than what is available right now, “ said Harjeet Singh, global lead on climate change for ActionAid International.

“However, there is no clarity in what form these financial flows will take place. Adaptation money should never be provided as loans. That would be cruel to the developing countries who did not cause the climate crisis but are already forced to invest in adaptation on top of their development budget,” he said.

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