The North-South divide threatens the fight for the climate

The lack of solidarity between rich and poor states risks slowing down the fight against climate change. At the 2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP21), developed countries pledged to mobilize 100 billion dollars (86 billion euros, at the current rate) per year by 2020 for nations in development. Only $ 80 billion was redistributed in 2019, according to the latest figures released in September by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). This amount is not expected to be much higher in 2020.

A number ” disappointing “, acknowledged Yannick Glemarec, director of the Green Climate Fund, whose role is to help penniless countries finance the fight against global warming. The goal is “Important for establishing a climate of trust”, he added, a few days before the opening of crucial negotiations. While the COP26 is to be held in Glasgow (Scotland), from October 31 to November 12, the countries of the South will be more difficult to convince by new promises if those of yesterday have not been kept.

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And this, especially since the envelope of 100 billion dollars is considered insufficient. “Knowing how to achieve this is going to be an important topic of discussion in Glasgow, underlines Simon Wilson, communications director of the Green Climate Fund, but it actually takes trillions of dollars to finance the transition to a low-carbon economy. “ In a virtual meeting on September 30, Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar noticed that the $ 100 billion sum did not even reach the budget for broadcast rights of the Professional League of American Football ( NFL).

While China, the United States and the European Union alone account for around half of global CO emissions2, an important part of the climate battle will be played out in low and middle income countries. “Developing economies receive only one fifth of global investment in clean energy, even though they could account for 80% of the growth in emissions over the next decades”, recalled Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) in an interview with Le Monde in October.

Manne of private investments

This transition is expensive: we have to build solar parks or wind turbines, new urban or transport infrastructure, in countries where the cost of capital is higher than elsewhere. The World Bank estimates the investment needs between 1 trillion and 2 trillion dollars per year, in the developing nations alone.

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