June 20, 2024

Developing Nations Demand Climate Finance at COP28

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Dec 4, 2023

The COP28 climate summit in Dubai opened with developing nations demanding wealthy countries make good on promises of providing $100 billion per year in climate finance. With climate disasters like floods, droughts, and storms devastating poor countries, the lack of funding to adapt and transition to clean energy has caused frustration and accusations of broken promises.

Push for Concrete Commitments

As delegates from nearly 200 countries gathered in the United Arab Emirates, the divide between developed and developing nations was clear (1). Poorer countries impacted by climate change argued they cannot afford to transition away from fossil fuels without significant financial help.

"The $100 billion is peanuts…it’s a drop in the ocean compared to the scale of what we need to do in the developing world," said Mohamed Nasheed, former president of the Maldives (2).

The UN Environment Program estimates developing countries require $2 trillion per year through 2030 in climate finance from wealthier nations to cut emissions and cope with climate impacts (3). But richer countries have failed to fulfill the $100 billion annual pledge made back in 2009, providing only around $83 billion in 2019 (4).

Year Climate Finance Provided (Billions)
2016 $63
2017 $71
2018 $79
2019 $83

Table showing climate finance totals in recent years, falling short of $100 billion pledge. Sources: (5), (6)

Developing countries stressed concrete commitments must be made during the two weeks of talks in Dubai.

"We are here for urgent business – to lower emissions, ramp up finance for adaptation and loss and damage, and deliver on long-delayed promises," said Sherry Rehman, climate minister for Pakistan (7).

Debt Relief Proposed

With developing countries lacking private capital and struggling under heavy debt burdens averaging 60% of GDP, activists and officials argued debt relief could free up government revenues to invest in climate action (8).

A proposal from Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley calls on development banks and rich nations to write off debt payments through 2030 for heavily impacted nations committing to green transition plans (9). Zimbabwe’s finance minister Mthuli Ncube also proposed debt cancellation using funds from rich polluters.

Debt payments cost developing countries over $40 billion per year, diverting critical resources from healthcare, education, and climate adaptation (10). Campaign groups have highlighted billions owed by countries battered by recent climate disasters like Pakistan, Nigeria, and Honduras (11).

Paying for Loss and Damage

As developing countries demand concrete commitments on emissions reductions and funding from high emitters, calls for a "loss and damage" financial mechanism also took center stage. Loss and damage refers to irreversible costs of climate impacts like destroyed homes, lost crops, mass migration, and even loss of human life.

"Paying for loss and damage is not charity. It is compensation from those responsible for the damage," said Lia Nicholson of the Alliance of Small Island States (12).

A proposal from countries including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Chile and Ireland would tax polluting fossil fuel companies to raise $100 billion per year for loss and damage funding by 2030 (13). Former world leaders also called for a 10% "solidarity tax" on oil producers to pay for loss and damage (14).

Energy Transition Financing Gap

Beyond adapting to climate impacts, developing nations require massive investments to transition energy and industrial systems away from fossil fuels and build renewable power capacity, at an estimated $4 trillion through 2030 according to the International Energy Agency (15).

But green investments in developing countries totaled just $446 billion from 2010 to 2019 according to the International Institute for Environment and Development, well below the trillions required (16).

"The world’s 1.2 billion energy access deficit cannot be closed with clean energy without concessional finance," said Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO of Sustainable Energy For All (17).

Financing from countries and development banks remain key to closing this energy transition investment gap.

Future Outlook

As COP28 continues over the next two weeks, developing countries will push for firm commitments from wealthier nations on delivering the promised $100 billion per year and establishing "loss and damage" funding. Debt relief and energy transition support also aim to leverage trillions in investments over the next decade. Civil society groups plan demonstrations to pressure leaders and amplify developing country demands (18).

Several new funding announcements have already been made, including $5-10 billion for loss and damage from the European Union (19). But major gaps persist, and some commitments shift existing aid rather than provide additional climate funding (20).

Securing enough concrete financing and emissions cuts commitments before the summit’s end on November 17 remains a difficult task. But with climate change accelerating and developing countries facing devastating extreme weather events, officials emphasize the urgency for action during COP28 talks.

"The 1.5-degree goal is gasping for breath,” said Gaston Browne, Antigua’s prime minister. “It’s up to the G20 to send it to the emergency room — or to the mortuary” (21).




AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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