EU must redouble climate finance efforts, new report finds

18 January 2021 

Modest increases in EU climate finance in recent years are insufficient and the bloc must redouble its efforts, according to a new report. 

Act Alliance EU, a coalition of European faith-based development and humanitarian agencies, issued the call today in a climate finance report which examined such efforts by European countries. 

Developed countries have pledged to direct $100 billion per annum to developing countries in climate finance, and the EU’s overall contribution amounted to over a quarter of the global figure. 

However, Act Alliance argue that the EU’s fair share towards this figure should be “between $33 and 36 billion”. 

The report also finds that European climate finance is also “significantly over-reported” as loans are equated to grants in reports to the United Nations.  

When using OECD methodology for reporting grant development assistance, the total amount of EU climate finance for 2018 drops to just over half of the total currently reported, according to the authors. 

Act Alliance EU also highlighted that loans and grants are overwhelmingly directed towards mitigation, “while it is adaptation finance which is most badly needed in developing countries”. 

The report mapped out a number of recommendations for European countries to take in order to improve their climate finance contributions, which include prioritising climate grants over loans and ensuring that such grants are in line with states’ Gross National Income. 

“Action will only happen if finance is available, and that is why the conversation on climate finance is a cornerstone of the climate debate,” ACT Alliance EU Board Chair Dr. Cornelia Fullkrug-Weitzel said. 

“The EU and its member states need to lead the way, and to set a new, better standard for climate finance globally,” she added. 

Ireland and climate finance 

While Ireland focuses its own efforts on grants that favour climate adaptation efforts, a 2019 report by Trócaire and Christian Aid Ireland found that the total amount it contributes falls far short of what is required. 

According to their own calculations, Ireland should be directing nearly €475 million per year to climate finance in developing countries, which is a far greater figure than the €80 million it gave in 2018. 

The joint report also called for additional funding to be earmarked to cover costs caused by extreme weather conditions that disproportionately impact poorer nations compared to the low level of emissions they produce. 

Such increases in climate finances should also be derived from new funds altogether, and not taken from existing aid budgets, according to Jenny Higgins of Christian Aid Ireland. 

“Otherwise we will be in the situation of robbing Peter to pay Paul and choosing between life-saving projects and efforts to tackle climate change,” she said. 

About the Author

Kayle Crosson