Climate costs will rise sharply if we miss 1.5 degree target, GCF conference hears

Climate finance is a moral obligation, while inadequate action leading to global temperatures over 1.5 degrees Celsius will come with a heavy price.

  • Article type Press release
  • Publication date 12 Oct 2018

Climate finance is a moral obligation, while inadequate action leading to global temperatures over 1.5 degrees Celsius will come with a heavy price.

These were some of the messages shaping discussions at a key Green Climate Fund (GCF) conference which ended today in Incheon, Republic of Korea.

UN Deputy Secretary General Amina J. Mohammed told GCF’s inaugural Global NDA Conference that providing climate finance to developing countries “is a key part of the Paris agreement.” “It is both an essential step to drive the change we need and a moral obligation,” she added.

“The Green Climate Fund has a central role to play in channelling climate finance to support the efforts of developing countries,” she said in a recorded message.

The Deputy Secretary General made the comments on the second day of the Global NDA conference, which brought together representatives of 74 developing countries, including 23 ministers. The three-day conference was designed to strengthen understanding between GCF and its National Designated Authorities, which act as focal points to communicate climate needs identified by developing country governments.

The release of IPCC’s most recent report, Global Warming of 1.5°C, on the opening day of the gathering on Monday added a sense of urgency to discussions on how best to open up new low-emissions and climate resilient pathways of development.

Bill Hare, Chief Executive Officer of Climate Analytics, said countries are already experiencing the first serious effects of climate change, including typhoons, floods, droughts and agricultural problems.

“What the IPCC report is telling us is that these problems are going to escalate quickly,” he said. “There are going to be problems with one and a half degrees. If we go above that level, those costs will go up rapidly.”

The IPCC report, compiled by 91 authors from 40 countries, warns the consequences from one degree of global warming are already evident in the form of extreme weather and rising sea levels.

The three-day conference explored ways to mobilise financial resources for mitigation and adaptation action, as well as charting GCF’s future role within the broader climate finance landscape.

The Deputy Prime Minister of Cook Islands, Mark Brown emphasised the need to avoid treating climate finance in isolation. “Finance today is a lot more complex than it was even 10 years ago,” he said. “Every development priority has a climate component to it.”

Mr Brown also noted that climate costs for Small Island Developing States like the Cook Islands were often more than three to five times more expensive than in other countries.

“For us to build a cyclone shelter for 2,000 people doesn’t mean building one cyclone shelter,” he said. “It means building four cyclone shelter each for 500 people on islands that are bout 200 miles apart.”

The Global NDA Conference helped increase understanding of developing country climate needs, as part of ongoing efforts to drive further ambition in marshalling the financial resources needed to address them.

While indicating GCF will continue to scale up its capacity to meet developing country needs, Deputy Executive Director Javier Manzanares said the Fund had already “made big strides since it started operations in 2015.”

He highlighted GCF’s current portfolio of more than 70 approved climate finance projects valued at USD 3.5 billion. He added that another 20 projects, valued at USD 1.1 billion, will be considered by the GCF Board at its next meeting in mid October.