G7 to support climate insurance for poor, finance disappoints

  • Reuters, Bonn
  • Updated: Jun 09, 2015 05:14 IST

Group of Seven leaders agreed on Monday to provide insurance against climate hazards for up to 400 million for more vulnerable people and back development of early warning systems, but did not outline a clear path for increasing climate aid up to 2020.

Experts at June 1-11 climate talks in Bonn were disappointed that G7 leaders gave only vague assurances they would work to mobilise $100 billion per year by 2020 to help poorer nations cope with extreme weather and rising seas, and to develop their economies cleanly - as promised by rich governments in 2009.

Last month, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for a roadmap for how the world will raise the additional $70 billion in climate funding needed to reach the $100 billion goal, from the current level of around $30 billion per year, saying the G7 summit should provide an "important signal" for that path.

In a communique issued after the two-day summit in Bavaria, G7 leaders promised to "continue our efforts to provide and mobilize increased finance, from public and private sources, and to demonstrate that we and others are well on our way to meet the $100 billion goal".

"We stand ready to engage proactively in the negotiations of the finance provisions of the Paris outcome," they said, referring to the UN conference in December where governments are due to agree a new global deal to tackle climate change.

Anoop Poonia of Climate Action Network South Asia said G7 leaders had missed the opportunity to follow up on Merkel's announcement in May that Germany would double its climate finance contributions to 4 billion euros ($4.49 billion) per year by 2020.

"Their acknowledgement of the need to provide climate finance after 2020 was an improvement on previous positions but we urgently need a roadmap to the pledged $100 billion. These countries still have plenty of opportunity between now and Paris to step up to the plate," he added.

Oxfam also criticised the G7 failure to explain clearly how wealthy governments would scale up public climate finance.

"Developing countries need a credible financial roadmap, not a set of accounting tricks," said Tim Gore, head of climate and food policy with Oxfam. "Currently rich countries provide just 2% of what poor countries need to adapt to a changing climate."

Insurance, energy projects

Despite the disappointment over climate finance, some experts welcomed G7 decisions to back clean energy and climate-resilience projects in developing nations. The communique said G7 countries would intensify support for vulnerable countries' own efforts to manage climate change-related disaster risk.

G7 governments will aim to increase by up to 400 million the number of people in the most vulnerable developing countries who have access to direct or indirect insurance coverage against climate-related hazards by 2020, and support early warning systems in the most vulnerable countries, the statement said.

The G7 also promised to speed up access to renewable energy in Africa and developing countries in other regions with a view to reducing energy poverty. Jennifer Morgan, director of the Global Climate Program at the World Resources Institute, said the commitments would "help build trust with developing countries ahead of the climate negotiations in Paris".

Others noted the emphasis in the communique on mobilising substantial financial resources from the private sector and multilateral development banks, suggesting this was an attempt to shift the burden from cash-strapped finance ministries.

G7 leaders also agreed on Monday to wean their economies off carbon fuels and supported a global goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

But climate activists in Bonn and elsewhere said the G7 recognition that decarbonisation of the global economy was needed "over the course of this century" was too slow, arguing it should happen by 2050 instead.

"Putting off action until the end of the century will have a devastating impact on the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in the developing world," Asad Rehman, international climate campaigner with Friends of the Earth, said.

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