The announcement of $9.2 billion in pledges to the Green Climate Fund is welcome but only a bare minimum, says Oxfam.
Australia, along with Austria, Belgium, Canada and Ireland have still not made any pledge. The funding was announced at a pledging conference in Berlin convened to get the Green Climate Fund up and running with a strong base of financial support.
The Green Climate Fund is intended to help developing countries reduce greenhouse gas emissions, prepare for the unavoidable impacts of a changing climate and develop in a sustainable way.
Developed countries promised to mobilise $100 billion per year in climate finance by 2020, a large portion of which is expected to be channelled through the Green Climate Fund.
Oxfam and numerous countries had called on governments to provide $10-15 billion to capitalise the Fund before the next round of UN climate negotiations in Lima, Peru in December. The $9.2 billion total falls short of this target.
Oxfam climate change policy expert Kelly Dent, who will be in Lima for the next round of UN climate negotiations next week, said developed countries needed to step up on climate change.
“Poor people around the world are trying to build resilient communities and fight back against longer droughts, harsher storms and stronger floods,” Dent said.
“Developed countries must show they are serious about fulfilling their commitment to the small farmers, fisherfolk and small business owners who are the true leaders in the global response to climate change.
“These pledges will help get the fund off the ground, but they are only a modest first step. Every dollar we invest in preparedness today can save up to seven dollars in future cost.”
Dent said getting the Green Climate Fund off to a good start and delivering on the $100 billion commitment was a crucial piece of the international talks.
"Negotiators in Lima will seek to make progress on several critical areas related to climate finance including how and when their national pledges will be put on the table in the future, and how those pledges will be assessed for their adequacy," she said.
"Some pledges announced today still lack crucial details including whether they are from loans, are reallocated from existing aid or have unknown strings attached.
“Financial support from developed countries should be a building block for a global climate agreement, not a stumbling block.
Dent said many developed countries have stepped up to give the Green Climate Fund a chance to get on its feet, but more was needed for it to succeed.
"There is still time for Australia to make a pledge before the UN Climate talks in Lima in December and we call on the government to do so, Australians have shown they expect action on climate change," Dent said.