01 Oct 2019, 17:30
Julian Wettengel

Germany to reach goal of 4 bln euros for intl climate financing by 2020 – budget draft

Photo shows an island on the Maldives. Photo: CLEW/Wettengel.
For low-lying island states like the Maldives, the impacts of global warming can be a matter of survival. Photo: CLEW/Wettengel.

Germany is set to reach its goal of doubling contributions to international climate finance to four billion euros annually by 2020 compared to 2014 figures. A gap had become clear earlier this year, but a budget draft states that this goal will even be exceeded by earmarking additional funds. Development NGO Oxfam Germany welcomed the news, but warned it could be a one-off measure before climate finance decreases again by 2021.

The German government said it will reach its target of doubling budget funds for international climate financing to 4 billion euros annually by 2020, compared to 2014. A draft budget, seen by Clean Energy Wire, states that the economic cooperation and development ministry (BMZ) will receive 500 million euros more next year for international climate financing. The environment ministry (BMU) is to receive an additional 100 million euros for the International Climate Action Initiative. “The target of doubling international climate financing expenditures to 4 billion euros by 2020 will thus not only be achieved, but even exceeded,” the draft budget states.

The supplementary budget draft is set to be approved by the federal cabinet on 2 October. It was drawn up to include the costs and revenues of measures in the climate action package the government decided on 20 September. The plan includes a pricing system for carbon emissions in transport and buildings, the call for a framework Climate Action Law and a package of measures in all sectors to bring the country back on track to reach 2030 targets.

At the 2015 Petersberg Climate Dialogue, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced plans to double Germany‘s climate finance contributions taken from the federal budget to 4 billion euros. Earlier in 2019, a gap of 500 million euros in federal budget plans for 2020 became clear and development cooperation minister Gerd Müller called for the money to be made available to his ministry.

The German government’s pledge feeds into the 100-billion-US-dollar promise by industrialised states from 2009. At that year’s UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, industrialised countries committed to mobilising a total of 100 billion US dollars a year as of 2020 from public and private sources for developing countries.

The OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) in September said climate finance provided and mobilised by developed countries for climate action in developing countries reached 71.2 billion US dollars in 2017, up from 58.6 billion US dollars in 2016, according to the organisation's estimates.

Money blessing could already be over again in 2021 - Oxfam climate finance expert Kowalzig

International development organisation Oxfam has repeatedly criticised the German government for using “creative accounting” to reach the target by including items which in 2014 did not form part of the government’s definition of international climate finance.

Jan Kowalzig, Oxfam’s senior climate change policy advisor, told CLEW that it was an important signal that the government was making good on its promise to increase climate financing to 4 billion euros. However, it likely represents a short-term ad-hoc boost of funds rather than a structural increase of climate aid, said Kowalzig. “The way in which the increase is now to be built into the 2020 budget gives rise to fears that the money blessing could already be over again in 2021.”

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