June 20, 2024
Finance

Key meetings must fix broken climate finance pledges to safeguard human rights


States gathering for a key climate meeting in Bonn next week in preparation for COP29 in Azerbaijan must address years of broken pledges and inadequate financial support from polluting nations by making substantive progress towards agreeing increased and binding funding commitments to help lower-income states deal with climate change, Amnesty International said today.

Recommendations published by Amnesty International ahead of the Bonn Climate Change Conference on 3-13 June, which begins negotiations due to conclude at COP in Baku in November, call on parties to prioritize secure and improved pledges to fund climate adaptation and mitigation, as well as to adequately finance the Loss and Damage Fund to enable impacted communities and individuals recover from unavoidable climate harms.

“The quantity and quality of climate finance available to date to combat the intensifying climate crisis has been woefully inadequate. This desperately needs to change to keep global warming to within 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. With each increment of global warming, the needs of those on the frontline of this crisis will multiply, and the harms and costs will escalate,” Ann Harrison, Amnesty International’s Climate Policy Advisor, said.

“The ‘polluter pays principle’ must apply yet historical greenhouse gas emitting countries have repeatedly failed to meet their existing funding pledges. States must now seize the moment in Bonn to change course.”

The quantity and quality of climate finance available to date to combat the intensifying climate crisis has been woefully inadequate.

Ann Harrison, Amnesty International’s Climate Policy Advisor

If lower-income countries have any hope of adapting to climate change, it is critical that they can access sufficient, reliable, grants-based financing from high-income emitting countries, as well as other countries in a position to contribute, including high-income fossil fuel producers. These same countries must also ensure that there is a predictable pipeline of funding that does not increase debt to adequately address the damage and harms global warming is wreaking, and to support a transition to zero carbon economies.

Amnesty International said delivering on and enhancing the pledge from last year’s COP to ‘transition away’ from fossil fuels into a firm commitment to phase out all fossil fuel production and use is essential to protecting human rights.

“Human rights must guide all climate decisions nationally and internationally. This means ensuring that civil society organizations, representatives of Indigenous peoples, and all other marginalized groups on the frontline of climate change, can meaningfully participate in these meetings, and that civic space is protected,” Ann Harrison said.

“As environmental human rights defenders and climate activists have faced a deeply worrying rise in threats and attacks globally in recent years, we are asking parties to agree concrete measures to better protect them. It is also essential that the rights of participants at Bonn and Baku are fully protected, including the rights to peaceful protest and freedom of expression.”

Human rights must guide all climate decisions nationally and internationally.

Ann Harrison

The recommendations outline how the parties at Bonn should progress towards an agreement, expected to be sealed at COP29, for an enhanced New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG) on Climate Finance – ensuring far greater and guaranteed financing to lower-income countries for climate adaptation and mitigation. The current minimum NCQG pledge of US$100 billion a year from 2020 to 2025 has been met just once, according to the latest available figures.

States must agree how a pledge to at least double climate adaptation finance by 2025 will be met, while recognizing that the actual needs are much greater and that a significant further scaling up is required. Adaptation finance is lagging far behind commitments for mitigation, and this gap needs to be urgently closed as people all over the world are already suffering. Investments in climate resilient infrastructure, for example, are essential to saving lives and livelihoods.

Sources of funding could be derived from the estimated US$480 billion a year lost by states to large scale tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance. Another huge source of climate finance could come from the withdrawal of the US$7 trillion of state subsidies and tax breaks the IMF calculates is provided annually to support the fossil fuel industry.

All climate funding must be made available in the form of grants, not loans, and not increase the indebtedness of lower-income states. Providing adequate climate finance is an obligation for some states under both the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement, and for all states in a position to do so, under the principle of international cooperation and assistance under international human rights law.

It is similarly essential that the Loss and Damage Fund, for assisting developing countries to recover from climate harms such as storms or floods, is rapidly and properly funded before this year’s COP, allowing it to become operational and able to disburse funds within the year.

Background

The Bonn Climate Change Conference runs between 3-13 June 2024 and COP29 from 11 to 22 November 2024 in Baku in Azerbaijan, with both meetings taking place under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Amnesty International campaigns for the fast, fair, funded and forever phase out of fossil fuels and a human-rights compliant transition to renewable energy, as well as for protection of free expression and of peaceful protest in relation to climate action.



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