As 2015 draws to a close, there is a strong hope that the Paris climate summit could represent a turning point in the global fight against climate change. To support discussions, Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) recently published two reports.
Earlier this week, we released our Global Landscape of Climate Finance 2015, the most comprehensive information available about which sources and financial instruments are driving investments, and how much climate finance is flowing globally. This report sheds light on global progress towards the level of low-carbon and climate-resilient investment needed to constrain greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to levels consistent with the 2°C global temperature goal and to adapt to an already changing climate. It also illuminates how different types of public support are addressing different needs, and how they are interacting with private sources of finance. Such understanding can position policy makers and investors to more effectively manage the risks and seize the opportunities associated with climate change.
We found that global climate finance flows reached at least US$391 billion in 2014 as a result of a steady increase in public finance and record private investment in renewable energy technologies. Public actors and intermediaries committed US$148 billion, or 38% of total climate finance flows. Private finance increased by nearly US$50 billion in 2014 and resulted in a record amount of new renewable energy deployment, particularly in China. About 74% of total climate finance flows, and up to 92% of private investments were raised and spent within the same country, confirming the strong domestic preference of investors identified in previous years’ Landscape reports and highlighting the importance of getting domestic frameworks for attracting investment right.
This global outlook provides a complementary, big picture perspective to a recent report prepared by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in collaboration with CPI to provide an up-to-date aggregate estimate of mobilized climate finance and an indication of the progress towards developed countries’ commitment under the UNFCCC to mobilize US$100 billion annually for climate action in developing countries by 2020. While US$100 billion will not meet the climate challenge by itself, it is currently the primary political benchmark for assessing progress on climate finance and an important starting point for getting us on a low-carbon, climate-resilient pathway.
Our estimates indicate that climate finance reached US$62 billion in 2014 and US$52 billion in 2013, equivalent to an annual average over the two years of US$57 billion. Bilateral public climate finance represents a significant proportion of this aggregate, provisionally estimated at US$22.8 billion on average per year in 2013-14, an increase of over 50% over levels reported in 2011-2012. Multilateral climate finance attributable to developed countries is estimated at US$17.9 billion in 2013-2014. The remaining finance consists of preliminary and partial estimates of export credits and of private finance mobilized by bilateral and multilateral finance attributable to developed countries.
The OECD report makes a significant contribution to informing international discussions and enhancing transparency on climate finance ahead of COP 21 in Paris in two ways. It provides a robust number including preliminary estimates of mobilized private finance for the first time and does so based on a transparent methodology. This represents real progress. In 2011, when we began gathering data for our Global Landscape of Climate Finance reports there was very little in the way of common methodologies and definitions. Since then, we have worked with the OECD, a group of Multilateral Development Banks, the International Development Finance Club and the UNFCCC Standing Committee on Finance and others, to develop definitions and methodologies that have helped to close data gaps, improve comparability and increase understanding of climate finance.
Ultimately, of course, it is up to international negotiators to decide what should and should not count towards the US$100 billion commitment and how best to approach the wider climate challenge. Our hope is that the lessons learned from our recent climate finance reports can help to further improve the transparency and comprehensiveness of climate finance measurement and reporting to develop tracking systems that ultimately help governments to spend money wisely.
A proper measurement, tracking, and reporting system is a critical building block to ensure finance is used efficiently and targeted where it is needed the most. By shedding light on the intersection between public policy, finance and private investment, we will continue to help decision makers from developed, developing and emerging economies optimize the use of their resources.
This article was originally published on Climate Change Policy & Practice, a knowledge management project of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). See: http://climate-l.iisd.org/