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Johnson calls on wealthy nations to meet climate finance goals as analysis projects shortfall

The Hill logo The Hill 9/20/2021 Zack Budryk
a man wearing a suit and tie: Johnson calls on wealthy nations to meet climate finance goals as analysis projects shortfall © Getty Johnson calls on wealthy nations to meet climate finance goals as analysis projects shortfall

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on wealthier nations to do more to address the impacts of climate change and phase out the use of fossil fuels, as a recent report projects those countries will miss their $100 billion climate finance goal.

At a meeting in New York with world leaders and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, Johnson said the leaders of major economies must increase their financial contributions to the goals of the Paris climate agreement. Ahead of the agreement, developed nations agreed to contribute a total of $100 billion a year toward such efforts beginning in 2020, but an analysis from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development released last week found they mobilized just under $80 billion in 2019.

"In coming together to agree the $100 billion pledge, the world's richest countries made an historic commitment to the world's poorest - we now owe it to them to deliver on that," Johnson said.

"Richer nations have reaped the benefits of untrammeled pollution for generations, often at the expense of developing countries. As those countries now try to grow their economies in a clean, green and sustainable way we have a duty to support them in doing so - with our technology, with our expertise and with the money we have promised."

Meanwhile, a report released Monday by international aid group Oxfam projected that richer nations will continue to miss the target over the next four years. Based on current roadmaps and strategies, those economies will only reach $95 billion a year by 2025, according to the group. The year-by-year numbers indicate developing nations, which are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, could miss out on up to $75 billion between 2020 and 2025.

The report notes that several major economies, including the U.S., Germany and Canada, have increased their financial commitments this year. This is unlikely to cover the gap, particularly with the failure of France, Australia and Japan to follow suit. At the current rate, only about 25 percent of total climate finance will go toward resilience in developing countries in 2025. In 2019, 70 percent of climate finance was in the form of loans, forcing those vulnerable nations to take on debt, according to Oxfam.

In the report, Oxfam notes that developing nations are already facing major fallout from climate change. Residents of rural Bangladesh spend about $2 billion a year in all on disaster mitigation or response, despite the average Bangladeshi producing 24 times less carbon dioxide than the average American. In Madagascar, which contributed a tenth of a percent of all emissions since 1933, residents currently face the worst flooding in decades.

"The pandemic has shown that countries can swiftly mobilize trillions of dollars to respond to an emergency - it is clearly a question of political will," Nafkote Dabi, Oxfam International's Global Climate Policy Lead, said in a statement. "Wealthy nations must live up to their promise made twelve years ago and put their money where their mouths are. We need to see real funding increases now."

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