Bloomberg — Brazil Environment Minister Joaquim Leite blasted rich, polluting countries for spending too little to help the developing world adopt clean energy, after their failed promise to provide $100 billion in climate finance annually.
Tensions over that failed finance pledge threaten to undermine negotiations in the final hours of the COP26 summit in Scotland. Leite, speaking on the sidelines of the conference, called finance the biggest challenge facing negotiators and said he was frustrated by the lack of progress.
“The developed countries and biggest polluters should have been better prepared for this climate conference and ensure they had in their budget relevant funds to allow for a responsible transition to a net-zero economy and that hasn’t happened,” he said in an interview in Glasgow. “They signed in 2015, promised for 2020 and now are kicking the can down the road to 2023 or 2024, for resources that are no longer enough.”
A draft of the conference text released Saturday chides nations for not yet meeting their 2009 pledge -- reaffirmed in 2015 -- to provide $100 billion in annual climate finance by 2020. And it “urges developed country parties to fully deliver on the” $100-billion goal “urgently and through to 2025.”
However, there are no concrete measures to address the shortfall in funding expected for 2020 and 2021 and the latest draft doesn’t say how rich nations will make up for the funding gap in the coming years. While a new ad hoc group would be tasked with developing a climate finance plan for the second half of the decade, negotiators removed earlier proposed language to set the floor at $100 billion annually and mobilize at least $1.3 trillion per year by 2030.
Leite said the provided resources are not enough and it’s been difficult for the most climate-vulnerable nations to access them. “The funding doesn’t actually materialize,” he said.
Negotiators were huddling at the conference Saturday trying to develop a final accord that would address climate finance, carbon-cutting ambition and rules for carbon trading. Brazil was one of the leading forces behind language in the drafts that could allow a deal on global emissions trading, and Leite said he expects negotiators to reach an agreement on the matter Saturday.
“I think we will reach a consensus,” he said, adding that Brazil had a “major role” in coming up with the text. “I think we’ve arrived at a text that will be approved today.”
Though activists praised stronger accounting provisions in the proposal, some said the draft plan could still allow some carbon credits to be double counted, potentially undermining emissions reductions.
Brazil earlier this week thought negotiations on the carbon trading rulebook, known as Article 6, wouldn’t go forward, Leite said. China was the last country Brazil met on this issue, and nations have finally reached a compromise that avoids double counting, he said.
The proposal “doesn’t allow for the same credit to be used twice, but it also give countries the power to decide which sectors generate credits and how these credits would be utilized,” he said. “That was a solution proposed by Brazil that guarantees there won’t be double counting.”