Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Top Chinese Climate Negotiator Xie Zhenhua has responded to a parade of official reassurances about the Paris Climate Agreement, by demanding to know when “developed” countries will start paying China the money which was promised in Paris.
Signatories to climate change agreement in dispute over financing
China’s negotiator says developed countries have not met their commitments.
A gap of at least $40bn in financing commitments is hampering efforts to combat climate change, signatories to the Paris agreement have warned, as they try to keep the agreement going in the face of doubts over US support under President Donald Trump.
Disputes over who will foot the bill comes as the Trump administration’s energy secretary, Rick Perry, scuppered a joint statement about climate change at a G7 energy meeting in Rome this week.
The Paris agreement to limit global temperature rises to under 2 degrees Celsius includes financial commitments from developed countries to help developing nations deal with climate change. Before its adoption it was agreed this amount should reach $100bn a year. However, it has been estimated that only $60bn has been committed so far.
Climate ministers from Europe, India, Brazil and South Africa have gone to Beijing in recent weeks, hoping to sustain momentum from the Paris talks despite the Trump administration’s dismantling of US regulations meant to limit American emissions. But discussions have quickly run up against the issue of financing.
“Developed countries have not met their commitments. In their reports a lot of their commitment is in the form of development aid. That doesn’t meet the commitment to contribute to new funds,” China’s top climate change negotiator, Xie Zhenhua, told a briefing on Tuesday. “A lot of countries don’t want to chip in. I said to the European minister: that’s your problem as developed countries. It’s your responsibility to work together and sort it out.”
Meanwhile, red tape prevents funds that have been committed from flowing to developing counties, said Ravi Prasad, India’s minister for environment, forest and climate change, calling the $60bn in commitments “highly suspicious” since the sum included previously allocated funds including aid. “When we go behind the numbers we find there has been a reclassification of the bilateral flows,” Mr Prasad said.
Mr Xie said: “Enthusiasm isn’t the problem but there are some doubts. I believe other countries feel the same.”
This bizarre diplomatic pantomime reinforces my view that the entire international climate movement is a mirage funded by US taxpayers.
In my opinion the only reason China signed up to their non-commitment to do something about CO2 emissions, is they expected the USA to borrow money from China, then return that money back to China as climate aid – which would have left US taxpayers an international laughing stock, paying off loans which have already been paid back to China.
Now Trump seems likely to cancel the payments, China wants to know why they should keep pretending.
European ministers might have the “enthusiasm”, but so far at least they aren’t putting up their own cash.