Tag Archives: UNFCCC

Increased understanding of how finance is mobilized can support efforts to spend resources wisely

November 16, 2016 |

 

Developed countries’ goal to ‘mobilize’ USD 100 billion per year by 2020 to address the climate action needs of developing countries will not close the global climate finance investment gap. However, it is an important political benchmark for assessing progress on climate finance within the context of multilateral negotiations. This provides policy makers with both challenges and opportunities.

On one side, reaching more consistent definitions for climate finance and eligible activities will be politically challenging. However doing so could promote transparency and help build trust between countries.

On the other, close scrutiny of the USD 100 billion could help to maximise its impact and help policymakers everywhere to learn lessons about what works and what works better in terms of ensuring international and national public resources drive private investment in climate action.

One word in the negotiating texts best encapsulates both the challenge and the opportunity – ‘mobilize’. The goal to ‘mobilize’ USD 100 billion a year was originally set at the international negotiations in Copenhagen in 2009. Last year’s Paris Agreement also refers to a ‘collective mobilization goal.’

CPI has helped to unpack the diversity of opinions about how this term should be applied. However, few disagree that in part this ‘collective mobilization goal’ is a recognition that implementing countries’ nationally determined contributions will require trillions not billions of dollars. To make this shift, public finance must be catalytic, driving private investment by tackling viability, risk and knowledge gaps that private actors cannot or are unwilling to bear.

In some sectors and markets, this means public finance will need to play more of a leading role in discovering, developing, and piloting new technologies and approaches that do not yet deliver returns sufficient to satisfy private investors, or which are perceived as having unmanageable risks.

Initiatives and studies from a range of organizations have explored different methodological approaches to estimate the extent to which public climate finance, support or policy can be said to have ’mobilized’ private climate-related investments. These include the co-financing approach proposed by multilateral development banks (MDBs), the methodology of the Technical Working Group composed of donors from the OECD member countries that was applied by the OECD and CPI in the “Climate Finance in 2013-14 and the USD 100 billion goal” report, and a CPI report on mobilized private finance for adaptation which explored the legitimacy and feasibility of measuring the more “indirect” impacts of public finance and support on mobilizing finance.

The accounting methods and data provided in these reports are helping countries and individual actors to understand two things. Firstly, what is being counted and what is being excluded in different ’mobilization’ approaches. Secondly, the complex interplay between different sources of finance and the range of actors and instruments involved in its delivery – work that CPI has led since 2010.

The Paris Agreement may also help. It charges the UNFCCC’s Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) with developing accounting guidelines for national-level reporting by 2018 to support better tracking of finance provided and ‘mobilized’ through public interventions.

Reaching agreement will be a complex, technical and politically challenging exercise for the SBSTA but will build on existing work to further enhance transparency around domestic climate finance and allow decision-makers to assess more easily the role different actors in the financial system play in achieving overarching economic and environmental goals.

CPI remains committed to supporting this process and to improving decision makers’ understanding of climate finance flows at the global, national and local levels.

Since 2010, CPI has supported decision makers from the public and private sectors, at international, national and local levels, to define and track how climate finance is flowing from sources and actors, through a range of financial instruments, to recipients and end uses. Providing decision makers with robust and comprehensive information helps them to assess progress against real investment goals and needs. It also improves understanding of how public policy, finance and support interact with, and drive climate-relevant investment from diverse private actors, and where opportunities exist to achieve greater scale and impact.

This blog is part of a series on climate finance tracking challenges. Read more here.

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Businesses Lead on Climate Change: The Road from Paris to Davos

January 22, 2016 |

 

When asked about last month’s Paris Agreement earlier this week at Davos, UNFCCC executive secretary Christiana Figueres remarked, “The signal is very clear. The signal is toward long-term transformation that is urgent…it is a transformation to decarbonizing the global economy.”

Many of this year’s World Economic Forum (WEF) attendees have already recognized that signal, and after Paris, more have become aware of the opportunities this transformation can bring. Costs of electricity for most renewables — including wind and solar — are now becoming comparable to those of fossil fuels, decreasing drastically over the past five years while costs for coal and natural gas have increased. And now that the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) and Production Tax Credit (PTC) have been extended, the US renewables industry finally has the policy stability it needs to securely finance a pipeline of projects without the risk of the tax benefits going away at the end of the year.

These factors and others have spurred private investors into pouring $243 billion in renewable energy in 2014, up 26 percent from the previous year. As climate exposure begins to pose serious fiduciary and business risks for investors, more and more financial leaders — including Blackrock, Citi, and Bank of America — are recognizing the risks and opportunities surrounding our current energy production and adjusting their portfolios accordingly. Tools, investment vehicles, and other products exist in the market to help businesses realize such exposure and make the necessary decisions to capture them.

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Breakdown of total private investment by actor, 2012-2014 in USD billion

However, more can and needs to be done to effectively transition to a low-carbon economy. One area of opportunity is in unlocking additional international, cross-border finance. The majority of climate investment (74%) originates and is spent in the same place, illustrating limited cross-border investments. Domestic policy frameworks in many countries, as well as innovative financial interventions can help business scale up overseas investments, and help emerging markets embark on a path of sustainable growth.

The Paris Agreement demonstrated the recognition by the global community that action on climate change and economic growth can occur simultaneously, and the business leaders at the WEF this week are instrumental to keeping this momentum. Only by working in tandem can we realize a rapid transformation to a low-carbon economy, and it is evident from Davos that many are already on board.

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The Paris Agreement is a signal to unlock trillions in climate finance

December 14, 2015 | and

 

The objectives laid out in the Paris Agreement are visionary but not overambitious as they build on trends already happening in reality. The agreement’s guiding star is the science-based goal of limiting temperature rise to ‘below 2 degrees Celsius’. In combination with the mention of 1.5 degrees Celsius, this goal sends a clear signal, giving governments and businesses an incentive to escalate efforts to decarbonise their economies, supply chains and business models. Even more importantly for business, this deal has teeth. It includes a mechanism to ramp up action every five years, starting in 2018, and importantly, does not allow backsliding.

A strong signal steering investors away from fossil fuels, towards sustainable growth

For business and investors, it means the direction of travel is clear and with appropriate support it is time to seize the opportunities on offer. “This is one of the greatest wealth opportunities in human history,” says Jigar Shah of Generate Capital. The Paris Agreement also signals that investment in fossil fuels is no longer a low-risk enterprise – or, as Anthony Hobley, CEO of The Carbon Tracker Initiative, puts it, “[it] tells markets the fossil fuel era is over.”

The Agreement also builds the case for both public and private actors to explore low-carbon and climate-resilient options. For developing countries and emerging economies and their partners, the clear message is that growth without sustainability is off the table, whereas sustainable growth is a win for climate and development. As Hillary Clinton, former United States Secretary of State, says, “We don’t have to choose between economic growth and protecting our planet – we can do both.”

Many investors are already on board

CPI’s Global Landscape for Climate Finance estimated USD 391 billion in primary investment flows in 2014, up 18% from the previous year. Private investment surged 26% from 2013, reaching 62% of total global investment in climate action driven largely by falling renewable technology costs supported by government measures.

The Paris Agreement means that these investors and project developers who have already started transitioning their business models can now have the confidence to continue shifting their assets, in order to avoid stranding their own portfolios.

From ambition to action: the critical role of national policy

However, right now the bulk of climate investment (74%) originates and is spent in the same place, whether in developed or developing countries. This indicates there is still work to do to scale up finance that crosses borders, and our research indicates that policy frameworks and enabling environments are the first prerequisite. As Felipe Calderon, former President of Mexico, says, “The next step is for governments to turn their commitments into national policy.”

Building confidence for the next five years through enhanced transparency

Developed countries must continue to take the lead in implementing the world’s first universal binding climate agreement. Building confidence that commitments outlined in the agreement are being met is key, and transparency is critical to this goal. Transparency on progress toward the commitment to continue to mobilize at least USD 100 billion per year from 2020 onwards is a case in point, and here work remains to be done. The OECD Report done in collaboration with CPI on progress toward the USD 100 billion was the first serious attempt to estimate public and private finance mobilized by developed countries’ interventions in developing countries by applying a transparent accounting framework. CPI welcomes the fact the Paris Agreement puts efforts to increase consensus and transparency on this and other climate finance issues at the centre of its work plan going forward.

Such transparency can help ensure confidence that finance is flowing from north to south, and to the right technologies, and that private investors are being mobilised in line with country interests. As countries move from negotiations to implementation, CPI stands ready to support their efforts.

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COP21: A good deal for climate and for growth

December 13, 2015 |

 

COP21-good-deal-for-growth

This weekend, world leaders signed on to a new climate deal that aims to limit global temperature rise to well below two degrees, continue $100 billion a year in climate finance, and ramp up action every five years.

I’ve been present at the climate negotiations since the beginning, and I will leave Paris tomorrow optimistic for the future, but not for the reasons you might expect.

While the deal itself is a big step forward, the larger leap has been the recognition, all over the world, that action on climate change and economic growth can – and should – go hand-in-hand.  The Paris agreements have recognized that the substantial gaps between the costs of clean and fossil energy have collapsed, and that returns increase when we produce food by using less land better. The spread of market driven activities consistent with these realizations will provide the foundations on which the Paris commitments will deepen.

The deal this week wouldn’t have been possible if nations and businesses weren’t already moving in this direction. The plans for climate action that countries committed to ahead of Paris were already enough to cover a large portion of needed emissions reduction. And while analysts pointed out that the sum total of the plans pre-Paris wouldn’t be enough to limit warming from dangerous levels, they still show that there is significant momentum.

Businesses, too, stepped up this year. High-worth individuals, family offices, and foundations committed to financial support to help move new clean energy solutions to viability, and heads of large companies, including Richard Branson and Paul Polman, called for zero emissions by 2050.

Why have nations and businesses changed their tune?

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Making Climate Finance Count – Increasing Transparency in the Lead Up to COP 21

November 23, 2015 |

 

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/

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Unblocking debate on the USD 100 billion climate finance goal

September 29, 2015 |

 

At the Sustainable Development Summit in New York last week, the question of progress toward existing climate finance targets was once again a key point of debate. While mobilizing the USD 100 billion per year that developed countries have agreed to provide to developing countries by 2020 will not meet the climate challenge by itself, it is currently the primary political benchmark for assessing progress on climate finance.

Improving understanding of different stakeholders’ perspectives on what counts towards the USD 100 billion commitment could improve the chances of reaching an agreement. That’s why Climate Policy Initiative’s latest paper, written with Overseas Development Institute (ODI), and World Resources Institute (WRI), aims to untangle the key issues arising in debates about “what counts”, and provide an approach to classifying climate finance in politically relevant ways that can facilitate discussion.

The paper takes no position on what should count towards the $100 billion. It leaves interested parties to draw their own conclusions. We feel it can help at this point in the lead up to Paris because:

  • It distills the debate into five main issues and defines and explores each in depth. They are: 1) Motivation; 2) Concessionality / source (an imperfect but useful conflation); 3) Causality; 4) Geographic origin; and 5) Recipient.
  • It represents each issue in “onion diagrams” organizing different categories into concentric circles according to political consensus. The closer to the center a category is, the more notional consensus there is among stakeholders that it should count toward the goal.

The paper ends by pulling all five variables together into diagrams like the one below that summarize the debate and help interested parties define and discuss what they feel should count.

Unblocking-debate-on-the-USD-100-billion-climate-finance-goal-All-variables

This paper does not attach quantitative estimates to the various categories of flows. This was a deliberate decision. While quantifying flows associated with the various layers and rings of each “onion” diagram is an essential step for future work, we hope that, by encouraging stakeholders to discuss the principles behind their views before focusing on the numbers, this paper may help to de-politicize these debates and support deeper reflection on underlying assumptions and preferences.

Allocating numbers to these flows will, in any case, be a challenge. Poor data quality and availability remain an issue for some variables as do accounting issues that affect how flows of climate finance are being counted by different countries and organizations.

While this paper does not provide definitive solutions on what should count towards the USD 100 billion, it supports deeper reflection on the assumptions and preferences that often underlie international climate finance negotiations. Such reflection may help to de-politicize these debates while fostering better mutual understanding of perspectives.

We also believe the insights highlighted in this paper can also facilitate constructive discussion in other ongoing debates on financing for development, what counts as official development assistance and others. The global community and by extension all countries could benefit from more common understanding.

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Indonesia’s INDC – A step forward or a missed opportunity?

September 28, 2015 |

 

 

Indonesia submits its INDC

As the Paris climate negotiations draw closer, countries have been asked to submit their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions – INDCs – by 1 October. INDCs identify the actions a government intends to take as the basis of post-2020 global emissions reduction commitments, that will be included in the future climate agreement. The process of setting the INDC is bottom-up and country-led, in contrast to the top-down approach of the Kyoto Protocol. INDCs already submitted have been heavily scrutinized and judged for the level of ambition or leadership.

Given the importance of the INDCs as a way for nations to take stock of their goals and needs and to chart paths towards an ambitious outcome in Paris, our question here is whether Indonesia has taken full advantage of this opportunity to close the gaps in existing and newly proposed policy frameworks, to pave the way for a prosperous, decarbonized economy.

Baselines – going back to the drawing board

Indonesia is presenting its INDC as a deviation from business as usual using projections based on the historical trajectory (2000-2010). It assumes projected increases in the energy sector in the absence of mitigation actions, however details of these assumptions and how they are modelled have not been disclosed in the INDC document.

As Indonesia’s INDC sets out a 26% emission reduction by 2020 and 29% emission reduction by 2030 based on a 2010 projected business as usual scenario, at a glance, this seems to imply that the first target was very ambitious, or perhaps that the new one, which adds a further 3% over the next 10 years, is hedging bets. It could also imply that the Government of Indonesia has calculated the variables with extra care and has set a more realistic target. In any case, because inventory and monitoring systems have not been able to estimate progress to date, it is hard to decipher where Indonesia stands with respect to business as usual and where they could go.

Casting more light on this situation in the latest inventory, and outlining in detail the baseline as well as assumptions and modelling underlying it, for each sector, would add credibility to Indonesia’s upcoming Third National Communication to UNFCCC in 2016.

Capitalizing on low hanging fruits

Since forestry emissions (from land and land use change, as well as peat and forest fires) as per Indonesia’s Second National Communication to the UNFCCC of 2010 account for 63% of the emissions profile, a landscape-scale ecosystem management approach, emphasizing the role of sub-national jurisdictions to decarbonize the economy, could be highly relevant to Indonesia. The INDC document describes its strategic approach as recognizing that climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts are inherently multi-sectoral in nature and require an integrated approach. However current on-going efforts, such as the moratorium on the clearing of primary forests, are not enough to curtail rising pressures on land. Increased palm oil production and the recent push for expanding markets for biodiesel, upcoming food security programs which open one million hectares of new paddy fields, and 35 GW of power to be installed by 2019 – much of it coal based, while all important to Indonesia’s growing economy, could threaten Indonesia’s sustainability goals if not managed properly.

Climate Policy Initiative’s protection and production and land management approach (PALM), applied in applied in Central Kalimantan, in collaboration with the University of Palangkaraya, aims to lead the way in this regard by bringing together private, public, and smallholder-farmer stakeholders to unlock a new, collective approach to agriculture that will promote food security, energy security, socially inclusive economic development and environmental sustainability. The project has already identified opportunities to increase profitability and productivity for smallholder farmers through larger scale management in the form of cooperatives. Such opportunities reduce pressure on land, support sustainable development of the palm oil economy, and provide livelihood benefits to the smallholder community. Such initiatives could also potentially lead to quantifiable emissions reductions.

Scaling up climate finance required to deliver the INDC

The Landscape of Public Climate Finance in Indonesia conducted by the Indonesian Ministry of Finance’s Fiscal Policy Agency and CPI found that public climate finance in 2011 reached at least IDR 8.377 billion (USD 951 million). The Government of Indonesia disbursed at least IDR 5,526 billion (USD 627 million) or 66% of those flows. The finance was well targeted, with most of it flowing through to the forestry sector (73%) and laying a strong foundation for decarbonizing the economy through policy development and capacity building.

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By the Numbers: Tracking Finance for Low-Carbon & Climate-Resilient Development

February 3, 2015 |

 

Landscape of Climate Finance 2014

 

In December 2015, countries will gather in Paris to finalize a new global agreement to tackle climate change. Decisions about how to unlock finance in support of developing countries’ low-carbon and climate-resilient development will be a central part of the talks, and understanding where the world stands in relation to these goals is a more urgent task than ever.

Climate Policy Initiative’s Global Landscape of Climate Finance 2014 offers a view of where and how climate finance is flowing, drawing together the most comprehensive information available about the scale, key actors, instruments, recipients, and uses of finance supporting climate change mitigation and adaptation outcomes.

Climate finance has fallen, mainly due to reductions in solar PV costs

Overall, the gap between the finance needed to deal with climate change and the finance delivered is growing while total climate finance has fallen for two consecutive years. This could put globally agreed temperature goals at risk and increase the likelihood of costly climate impacts.

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Dear Davos: There Are Ways to Boost Investment in Better, Cleaner Growth

January 22, 2015 |

 

At the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos today, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim called for proper consideration of the risks associated with investing in the high-carbon economy and for more investment in better, cleaner forms of growth.

This video interview with CPI Senior Director Barbara Buchner provides useful background for those at the WEF calling to make 2015 a year of action on climate change. In it she shares CPI’s analysis on how the world is progressing toward the investment needed to limit emissions and climate change and what current financial flows reveal about how we might unlock further investment.

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Six climate finance themes out of Lima that will shape 2015

December 17, 2014 |

 

Government representatives from around the world met last week in Lima, Peru to negotiate global emissions reductions as part of the annual UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP20). Once again, the need to mobilize more investment in a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy was an important point of debate.

Climate Policy Initiative’s analysis is playing a key role informing serious discussion on climate finance and finding solutions to increase the effectiveness and scale of climate finance investments. Here are the themes we saw at this COP that we feel will shape climate finance action and debate over the next year.

Entrance-to-Lima-Cop20

Entrance to Lima COP20

1. Finance is flowing but it’s not enough.

The COP20 High-Level Finance Ministerial began with a presentation of the UNFCCC’s Biennial Assessment and Overview of Climate Finance Flows 2014. This research, which draws on Climate Policy Initiative’s work to track climate finance, tracked between 340 and 650 USD billion in annual investment. As CPI has shown, this figure is far short of the need.

Global Landscape of CLimate Finance needs

Annual climate investment compared to the need

2. Governments voiced support for innovative initiatives that unlock private finance.

CPI’s analysis shows that while public finance often provides the conditions for climate investment to take place, private investors contribute the largest share of finance, year after year, in countries across the world. It also shows that public finance alone will not be enough to meet the investment need. Several government representatives spoke of the need to find innovative ways to unlock increased private investment. Representatives from Denmark, the Netherlands, the UK, and U.S. used their time on the COP plenary floor to voice support for one such initiative – The Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance – which CPI supports as its Secretariat, advancing innovative financial instruments to drive significant additional investment in developing countries.

3. The Green Climate Fund reached more than $10 billion in commitments – good progress ahead of COP21 in Paris next year.

Following the pledges from Japan, the U.S. and UK over the last weeks, Australia, Belgium, Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Austria, Spain, Norway, and Canada helped the Green Climate Fund reach its $10bn goal at this COP with new pledges. These pledges to help developing nations deal with climate change are good news. They increase the chances for a global climate deal next year in Paris, and if spent wisely, can supplement domestic public resources where they fall short and drive billions in private investment toward low-carbon and climate-resilient growth.

4. Finance for adaptation is becoming a higher priority.

The Green Climate Fund restated its intention to use half of its finance for adaptation purposes. Germany also stepped up on adaptation, committing an additional 50 million euros to the Adaptation Fund. CPI’s work shows that while adaptation finance grew by 12% last year, it still falls short of the need.

 5. Tracking of climate finance continues to improve.

Following on recommendations from the UNFCCC’s Biennial Assessment and Overview of Climate Finance Flows 2014, many countries used their time on the COP20 plenary floor during the Finance Ministerial to talk about the need for an agreed-upon definition of climate finance and improved tracking systems. CPI’s analysis supports this need and shows that climate finance tracking can support countries’ attempts to formulate better policies.

 6. Economic growth and combating climate change can go hand in hand.

Last but not least – there was a growing sense that acting on climate can also spur economic growth at this year’s COP. Many experts have documented that climate change and the resulting extreme weather would have huge social and financial costs to the global economy. This year, the New Climate Economy report showed that measures that reduce climate risk can not only help to avoid a shrinking economy in the future, but can also help grow the economy, today.

 FelipeCalderon-speaks-about-New-Climate-Economy-from-COP20

President Felipe Calderón speaks about the New Climate Economy report from the COP20 plenary floor

Going into 2015, one big-picture lesson is clear – climate finance will continue to be an important focal point for those working to respond to climate change. CPI will continue to work to provide analysis that supports these discussions.

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