Doha Climate Talks Bring $100 Billion Green Climate Fund Into Question

One of the key issues occupying much of the debate in Doha as climate talks rage against a looming deadline is the UN’s Green Climate Fund (GCF), a proposed $100 billion global fund that would be paid by richer nations and used to assist developing countries in their efforts to combat climate change.

According to its supporters, the money promised by the GCF is critical to ensure that developing countries have access to the technologies and finance necessary to cut their carbon emissions. But there are many who argue that without implementing strict conditions, the money could be wasted on countries that don’t have acceptable environmental policies in place.

According to Bloomberg, the money in the GCF will likely be used for a variety of initiatives throughout developing countries. These initiatives may include cutting back on the use of fossil fuel through the development of wind and solar farms, to developing agricultural equipment that’s a bit more environmentally friendly. In addition to actual receipt of funds, it’s thought that the existence of the GCF may also encourage private-sector investment.

At this point in time, much of the decision about the fate of the GCF rests on the demand from donor countries that their money won’t fall into the proverbial black hole. Naoko Ishii, who heads up an administrative office that oversees the GCF, said, “I know that conditionality is a very sensitive word, but from the donor point of view, if the money is to be impactful, there must be some policy environment put in place.”

Whether to establish such conditions isn’t the only argument taking place in Doha. There have also been accusations of a lack of financial commitment and improper reclassification of funds leveled against countries like the United Kingdom, Germany and France. Initially, a $30 billion “fast start finance” phase was proposed in 2009 and set to be fulfilled by 2012. As of this year, that milestone has yet to be met and the GCF’s full $100 billion fulfillment deadline of 2020 remains in question.

Meanwhile, some critics of the Doha climate talks are calling into question the decision to commit billions of US dollars in the face of economic worries at home. In a video statement published December 6, Senator Jim Inhofe (R, OK) called the Doha climate talks “pointless” and suggested in a roundabout way that the majority of UN envoys participating at the Doha climate talks are just in it for the caviar.

“Three years ago, President Obama helped create a United Nations Green Slush Fund that would redistribute over $100 billion from developed countries to developing countries,” Inhofe said. “While he has been racking up huge deficits and talking up tax increases, the President has already sent billions of American taxpayer dollars to the United Nations – and he’s managed to do it quietly so that no one will notice.”

A long-time critic of global warming theory, Inhofe called for the need to “focus on the real problems that we face” and suggested that US effort and dollars would be better spent dealing with the approaching fiscal cliff.

Lead image: Money bag via Shutterstock

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Vince Font is a freelance journalist specializing in the fields of renewable energy, high tech, travel, and entertainment. Read his blog at www.vincefont.com or follow him on Twitter @vincefont.

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