The Reality of Official Climate Aid

December 9, 2008 | 00:00

The reality of official climate aid

This paper by Prof Timmons and his team provides preliminary findings on trends in climate aid from the world's major donor nations from 2000 to 2006 based on individual categorization of over 115,000 aid projects randomly selected from the OECD/CRS database.

Recent contributions to the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-Term Cooperative Action of the UNFCCC call for "predictability, stability and timeliness of funding” that is additional to existing flows of Official Development Assistance. Much has been said about the need for financing, but little systematic research exists about what has actually been done: this paper provides preliminary findings on trends in climate aid from the world's major donor nations from 2000 to 2006 based on individual categorization of over 115,000 aid projects randomly selected from the OECD/CRS database. After five years of hovering around US$ one billion a year through 2004, mitigation funding increased sharply in 2005 and 2006, reaching an estimated $10 billion by 2006. Most of the increase in mitigation funding is accounted for by major hydroelectric stations, a point of contention among many climate change activists and experts. Adaptation funding is miniscule by comparison, and is mostly spent on disaster planning and management as opposed to explicit adaptation to the demands of a changing climate. We document who the largest bilateral and multilateral donors of official climate aid in these seven years are, and which nations and regions receive the most of these funds; this independent categorization of significance in fighting and adapting to climate change as project aid paints a very different picture than the OECD/CRS' voluntary self-reporting by donors under its Rio Markers system. In our final section we discuss the implications of these findings in the context of demands for adequate, predictable, stable and timely climate funding.

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