Climate Minister Jonathan Wilkinson is uncertain whether he will continue in this role for now, but with COP26 at hand, his portfolio is perhaps the most important of all cabinet members.
Speaking to reporters on Friday at a pre-COP meeting in Milan, Wilkinson said Canada’s focus ahead of COP26 bridges the gap to US $ 100 billion in climate finance per year that rich countries promised developing countries more than ten years ago at COP15. .
Increasing funding to achieve this goal is widely recognized as essential to the success of the Paris Agreement, but in recent years the momentum has slowed down.
The latest Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report set the total amount of climate finance provided to developing countries at US $ 79.6 billion in 2019. The amount only increased by 2% from the previous year, and the target was to achieve US $ 100 billion by 2020. Due to reporting delays, the 2020 figure is not expected to be known until next year.
“The $ 100 billion figure is one of the pillars of the Paris Agreement,” Wilkinson said.
“This is exactly why the UK has called on Germany and Canada to work with the donor community to increase funding, so that we are really heading towards and beyond $ 100 billion at the moment. ‘approaching 2025, “he said.
Wilkinson said he plans to release an “action plan” the week of October 18 that details countries’ commitments.
This year, Canada announced that he would double its international climate finance from $ 2.65 billion to $ 5.3 billion over five years. This is about one percent of the $ 500 billion over five years to which developed countries have collectively pledged.
India was a main voice calling for developed countries to increase their financial commitments to reach the pledged amount.
US President Joe Biden recently told the United Nations General Assembly that he would seek Congress approval to double climate finance to $ 11 billion per year by 2024 to help meet that commitment. Likewise, the European Union recently announced it would add 4 billion euros from 2021 to 2027 to the financial support it offers to developing countries. The EU is already committing $ 25 billion a year, Reuters reports.
“It is no exaggeration to say that the failure or success of COP26 depends on the ability of rich countries to close the $ 100 billion gap, because it is a matter of trust,” said Eddy Pérez, head of international climate diplomacy at Climate Action. Canada Network.
Scaling up international climate finance is critical to the success of COP26, and Canada has been tasked with playing a key role. #cdnpoli # cop26 #ClimateJustice
In particular, increasing funding for adaptation, as opposed to mitigation, will be essential. Mitigation refers to efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while adaptation refers to building the type of society that can withstand climate degradation that is already locked in.
“Thirty percent of Canada’s climate finance has gone to adaptation, while the rest goes to mitigation, and it’s the same all over the world,” Pérez said.
“Mitigation finance focuses a lot on mobilizing the private sector … (but) in some countries, especially the most vulnerable, they need adaptation finance first and foremost,” he said. declared.
One of the reasons for this is that mitigation efforts, like solar panels or the shift to electric vehicles, have clear business cases that private capital can support. Adaptation efforts, like building a seawall, don’t always have a business case, which means public money is needed.
Wilkinson said Canada is focused on increasing the public funds that can be deployed through multilateral development banks or bilateral agreements between countries, but added that this will not be enough.
“The opportunity is to use public sector money to catalyze some of the work that needs to be done in the private sector,” Wilkinson said. “If you listen to the developing community, what we need in the coming years isn’t $ 100 billion, it’s billions of dollars to spend on mitigation and adaptation.
Nonetheless, he stressed that Canada’s role is to increase the public dollar commitments of developed countries, calling it separate from the work of the former Governor of the Bank of Canada and current UN Special Envoy for Climate Action. and finance, Mark Carney, head of the “private finance center” at COP26.
If the job can be done separately, the pieces are likely to be tightly put together at the end of the day, as private finance priorities at COP26 should set up an international framework to move massive sums of money, essentially by making so that investors feel comfortable, they will see good returns.
The strategyS priorities refer to expanding the role of public-private partnerships and assert that “blended finance”, referring to public and private investment, has a “vital” role to play.
Organized since 1995, the United Nations Climate Change Conference – also known as COP, short for Conference of the Parties – brings countries together to negotiate agreements to reduce global warming. This year, COP26 will take place at the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow, Scotland, from October 31 to November 12.
John Woodside / Local Journalism Initiative / National Observer of Canada