EU still fooling itself on climate finance as Ministers fail to boost funding

Published: 14th May 2013

Oxfam warned EU Finance Ministers, who hailed Europe’s success in meeting its Copenhagen climate finance commitments at a meeting in Brussels today, used clever accounting to make up the figures.

Based on preliminary figures, Oxfam calculated that over two thirds of the money committed during 2010–2012 to help poor countries adapt to the impact of climate change and curb emissions was repackaged from existing aid promises and that the vast majority had already been planned or announced before Copenhagen. While some EU member states (including the UK, France, Denmark, Germany and Finland) announced ‘voluntary’ contributions of €5.5 billion over two years in Doha last year, it is unclear whether they will be drawn from existing aid commitments.

Oxfam also warned that Ministers have, once again, failed to clarify how they intend to scale up their contribution to longer-term climate finance in order to meet their share of the $100 billion promised. With global talks in November on a new climate deal fast approaching, today’s meeting will have done little to reassure developing countries that Europe is committed to helping them cope with the devastating effects of climate change.

Lies Craeynest, Oxfam’s EU climate change expert, said:

The EU is fooling itself and those in desperate need of climate money by using clever accounting to make up for their broken promises. They must stop ducking the question of how much the EU should contribute towards the $100 billion Copenhagen commitment and urgently agree on new sources for long-term climate finance, such as the financial transaction tax or a levy on emissions from international shipping and aviation.

“With the EU Emissions Trading Scheme in disarray and the repeated failure of most member states to make a genuine commitment to climate finance, the EU is surrendering its global leadership in the fight against climate change and compromising the chance of progress later this year in Warsaw towards a new climate deal.

Notes to Editors

  • Developed countries committed in Copenhagen in 2009 to mobilize $100 billion (€73.43 billion based on 2009 prices) per year by 2020 to help poor countries adapt to climate change and develop in a low carbon way.
  • The Fast Start Finance period finished at the end of 2012, as part of which the EU committed €7.2 billion. The Fast Start Finance report, which will be adopted on 14 May, states that the commitment has been fulfilled since the EU and its Member States mobilised €7.34 billion in total. Finance for adaptation has dropped from 33.4% in 2010 of the total amount of Fast Start Finance to 28% in 2012.
  • Oxfam research, published in advance of the UNFCCC climate negotiations in Doha last year and based on preliminary figures which are still roughly valid, found that that only around 27 per cent of the EU Fast Start Finance was new money (funds that had not already been planned or announced before Copenhagen) and only 17 per cent  was additional to the commitment to provide 0.7 per centof GNI in Official Development Assistance. Just over 40 per cent went through multilateral funds with just above 10 per cent channelled through UN climate funds such as the Adaptation Fund or the Global Environment Facility. Notably, Spain channelled 100 per cent of its contribution through multilateral funds and was the largest contributor to the Adaptation Fund, and Ireland delivered 100 per cent of its contribution as grants, nearly all for adaptation and at least a portion that is truly additional to existing development commitments.

Contact information

Angela Corbalan on + 32 473 56 22 60 or