BERLIN – Germany recently stepped forward with a $1 billion pledge to help developing nations battle against climate change, ending the ‘deafening silence’ that until now has surrounded the United Nation’s fledgling Green Climate Fund.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the nation’s contribution – the first major pledge to the fund – in Berlin at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue, a discussion about international climate action attended by 35 ministers from around the globe.
“I can speak for Germany that we take our responsibilities seriously,” said Merkel, later expressing her hope that other nations will join and contribute appropriate amounts.
The Green Climate fund was created in December 2011 by almost two hundred nations’ U.N. climate envoys. Having taken over three years to become operational, the fund is designed to channel climate aid from industrialized nations to poor and developing nations, curbing the emission of greenhouse gasses and protecting against the detrimental effects of climate change.
It aims to help developing nations in the pursuit of clean development and adaptation to climate change effects – like heat waves, droughts, increased flooding and rising sea levels – and is seen as an integral factor in locking down a new global climate change deal to be arranged in Paris late next year.
After setting rules on money management, the fund opened up for sizeable donations in May, but has so far only had enough capital to set itself up.
Last month, Executive Director Hela Cheikhrouhou said that the fund is seeking to raise up to $15 billion by the end of the year to fund geothermal energy, solar power and water supplies projects.
Before the U.N. climate conference in Peru, the fund will host in late November its first pledging conference for potential donors.
“This announcement ends the deafening silence we’ve had so far around the empty Green Climate Fund that is supposed to support poor countries in the battle against climate change,” said development charity Oxfam’s Jan Kowalzig. “Now others must follow suit.”
The funding is incorporated in Germany’s federal budget for the year and will be paid out this year and next.. The donation to the U.N. fund is in addition to the 1.8 billion euros that the country is already spending on international climate programs.
Germany has long been a leader in fighting and managing climate change and sees cutting emissions as a top international priority.
“If rich countries such as the U.S., France, the UK, Japan, and others manage to collect at least $15 billion in pledges ahead of the upcoming UN climate negotiations in Lima at the end of the year, this could give the talks a significant boost,” Kowalzig said.
– Annie Jung
Sources: Trust.org 1, Trust.org 2, Trust.org 3, BusinessWeek