German climate finance / International climate finance

Petersberg Climate Dialog calls for $100 billion roadmap, Merkel doubles German climate aid

Barbara Hendricks opens the Petersberg Climate Dialog. Climate finance is also on the agenda. Photo: © BMUB/Adam Berry

Two weeks ago, representatives of around 40 governments gathered for the annual Petersberg Climate Dialog on the invitation of German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks and the French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. This forum for discussion at the ministerial level is designed to support the ongoing negotiations for a new climate agreement. The meeting is not geared toward concrete or binding results, but rather aims to serve as a bridge-building exercise. Minister Hendricks, for one, has been satisfied, emphasizing that the tough political hurdles should not be postponed until the final night of the climate change conference in Paris, hours before the new global agreement is to be put in place. She’s certainly right about that.

Will the $100 billion roadmap be in place by 2020?

Climate finance is one of the thorniest issues to be dealt with in Paris, and so it featured on the agenda of this year’s Petersberg gathering. For years, the industrialized countries have declined to submit a roadmap of how they intend to meet their commitment to raise $100 billion a year for climate finance by 2020. The fact that this attitude needs to change was at least mentioned in the summary of the co-chairs at the end of the event. In her speech, Angela Merkel called on the industrialized countries to develop such a plan, noting that annual funding currently amounts to less than a third of the volume pledged for 2020, leaving a gap of around $70 billion that still needs to be closed. Here we certainly agree with the German Chancellor, and we’re eager to see how she is going to follow through with initiating work on the $100 billion roadmap and living up to her own call to action – the next opportunity to do so will be the G7 summit.

Drawing a blank for climate finance after 2020

The equally important issue of climate finance in the new agreement – i.e. for the period after 2020 – was largely ignored, however. The said summary does not contain anything useful on this topic, apart from the observation that the new agreement should contribute toward making investment flows increasingly “climate-friendly”. As to concrete proposals for how the industrialized countries’ aid for poorer countries could be organized – nothing of the sort. No wonder, considering that the industrialized countries have to date rejected each and every proposal by the developing countries with regard to periodically updated financial targets or concrete commitments by the donor countries.

Angela Merkel: climate finance from Germany will double

Chancellor Merkel also had a surprise up her sleeve at the Petersburg Climate Dialog when she announced that German climate finance will double from 2014 levels by 2020. As confirmed by Environment Ministry Secretary Jochen Flasbarth, she was referring to the roughly two billion euros in public funds that the German government currently earmarks to support adaptation, mitigation and forest protection in developing countries every year. This amount is thus set rise to four billion euros a year by 2020. This may or may not be sufficient, but it is certainly setting the course and putting pressure on other industrialized countries to increase their own support as promised. It can only help raise the momentum in the run-up to the Paris summit.

It now remains to be seen how Chancellor Merkel’s announcement will affect the 2016 federal budget in concrete terms, and whether the budget for climate finance will see an ambitious boost – for example by increasing the funding of the Environment Ministry’s International Climate Initiative, but also through new deposits and commitments to multilateral climate funds such as the Adaptation Fund.

Jan Kowalzig, Oxfam