German climate financing – an introduction to the website

Two years ago, more than a hundred heads of state from around the world failed in their attempt to agree on a fair, binding and ambitious global climate treaty to stop global warming. Nevertheless, a promise was made in Copenhagen that should actually be self-evident: those who bear historical responsibility for climate change and now have the economic resources to combat it will pay their fair share of this global effort, and thus support mitigation and adaptation measures in developing countries. In Chancellor Angela Merkels words at the time:

“For me, [responsibility] means that the countries suffering the most from climate change, the poorest countries in the world – the small island states, African countries, and Bangladesh, to name just a few, and many, many others that have not been able to benefit from industrialization and increase their standard of living – have the right to expect us to help them by transfering technology and giving them financial support. We need to start quickly – with ten billion dollars worldwide in the years 2010, 2011 and 2012, and 100 billion dollars by the year 2020, continuing over many years – to enable the poorest countries to make their contribution. Germany is ready to bear its fair share.”

The financial resources pledged in Copenhagen for the years 2010-2012 for mitigation and adaptation in developing countries should come from public budgets as new and additional funds. Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged a total of €1.26 billion as the German contribution to this fast-start financing.

What has become of this promise? What is the situation of German climate change financing today? Which funds are flowing to which destinations? Which actors are benefitting from specific instruments and channels? According to which criteria are funds being allocated and how are they being managed?

With this website, we would like to take a critical look at international climate change financing by the German federal government and help increase its transparency. We provide an overview of promised and paid amounts and the instruments and channels used.

It is important to us to not only create transparency about the facts and to provide a coherent overview, but to evaluate the German contribution to international climate change financing in terms of quantity and quality according to specific criteria.

While Germany is a pioneer in international climate change financing in many ways, it still does not have a coherent overall strategy, and is lacking in its compliance with normative criteria for the management and allocation of resources. There is also a significant gap between the pledges made by the German government and its obligations under international law, and the payments it has actually made.

We welcome the fact that the government is going to increase the transparency of its climate change financing with its own website to provide vital information to the German and international public. Nevertheless, we still consider it to be a necessary and important task of German civil society to critically examine and evaluate such information, thus supporting the government in its efforts to live up to the pioneering role it claims.

We hope you enjoy this website, and we are looking forward to your comments and constructive criticism.

Lili Fuhr, Heinrich Böll Foundation

Jan Kowalzig, Oxfam

Anja Esch, Germanwatch

Sven Harmeling, Germanwatch

Thomas Hirsch, Bread for the World