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Mark Nicholls

Mark Nicholls

Mark is a writer for Environmental Finance. Environmental Finance is the leading global publication covering the ever-increasing impact of environmental issues on the lending, insurance,…

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The Green Climate Fund is Destined for Failure

The Green Climate Fund (GCF), designed to channel $100 billion a year in climate-related investment to the developing world by 2020, is destined for failure, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

In a white paper published today, BNEF chief executive Michael Liebreich argued that the Transitional Committee set up within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to design the GCF is pursuing public funding which will not be forthcoming.

“The current UNFCCC negotiations over the creation of the Green Climate Fund are heading down a dead end,” he said. “The Transitional Committee charged with the design of the fund is dominated by figures from government with no private sector experience.

“They are looking to create yet another multilateral institution for managing pools of public money but, even if they succeed in creating a fund, there is no earthly way developed world governments will resource it to the tune of $100 billion per annum.”

He described the Transitional Committee as “an unfolding triumph for the developing world”, which has long favoured public financing for climate change mitigation and adaptation over private finance.

But he said that this is “a purely pyrrhic victory. There will never be a $100 billion, government-to-government funds transfer, nor anything approaching it.” He is also dismissive of proposals to tax aviation or financial transactions to provide the finance.

However, Liebreich argued that the financing is available via the private sector, with public money used “in a surgical way only to deal with specific risks and viability gaps that the private sector cannot take on”.

He proposes the creation of a Green Climate Finance Framework. “What is needed … is a set of instruments to provide a range of different forms of support including soft loans, grants to cover the extra cost of clean solutions, and skills-building,” he said.

“Each instrument would be offered by any number of public and private institutions in competition with each other, which would keep costs down and provide for good governance and transparency. The bulk of the required finance would be provided by the private sector directly to individual projects, rather than as government-to-government transfers.”

Such a framework would be required to support what BNEF estimates is the $50 billion per year of private sector debt financing needed to complement $30 billion in equity and $20 billion from development banks.

The framework would act as a certification standard for qualifying projects, that would make them eligible for a range of financing programmes.

“Many questions remain in the detailed design of a Green Climate Finance Framework,” Liebreich wrote. “The main point, however, is that it can be done. The promise of $100 billion of climate finance [a year] for the developing world can be met, with sufficient creativity and flexibility all round.”

By. Mark Nicholls

Source: Environmental Finance

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