Climate and Environment

COP26 ministers say $100B target can be reached in 2023

COP26 ministers say $100B target can be reached in 2023
Police Scotland officers patrol past the SSE Hydro venue in Glasgow on October 4, 2021 as the city prepares to host the COP26 UN Climate Summit in November.
AFP/Andy Buchanan

LONDON, United Kingdom — A decade-old target for rich countries to contribute $100 billion a year to help poorer ones fight climate change should be attainable in 2023, ministers said on Monday ahead of the COP26 summit.

The target was meant to have been reached last year, and the failure of developed nations to do so has become a key point of contention heading into the summit starting next week in Glasgow.

The UK government's COP26 president, Alok Sharma, had tasked the environment ministers of Canada and Germany to review pledges so far, and they pointed to a "positive trend" in a new report.

"So our work continues, but we have reached a significant milestone today, one that I hope will start to restore trust and build momentum in this final stretch ahead of COP26," Sharma said at the report's unveiling.

The ministers said analysis by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) showed "significant progress towards the $100 billion goal in 2022 and provides confidence that it would be met in 2023".

Jochen Flasbarth, state secretary at the German environment ministry, said delivering on the pledge first articulated in Copenhagen in 2009 was "essential to deliver trust". 

"Climate finance from north to south has nothing to do with generosity. It is on the contrary an integral and essential part of global policy," he said. 

Andrew Norton, director of the International Institute for Environment and Development in London, said richer countries were "finally putting words into action".

"And while the promised finance hasn't come as soon as it should have, the delivery plan shows wealthy countries will go over $100 billion per year (after 2023) to meet the commitment on average," he said. 

"Having this assurance documented in an agreed plan is essential for building trust amongst countries heading into discussions in Glasgow. This will help to get COP26 back on track."

Sharma stressed the work on helping poorer nations adapt to and mitigate for the worst impacts of climate change was "far from complete". 

"Crucially, we must increase the sums available for climate adaptation and we must also urgently improve access to finance," he said.

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