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UN Climate Funds build coal plants — do we call it corruption, or is it success?

Posted By Joanne Nova On December 9, 2014 @ 1:42 am In Global Warming | Comments Disabled

One more reason not to give funds to the UN, but do enjoy the contortions.

Japan claimed it spent $1b on a particular action against climate change, which made the UN happy. But it turns out that money went to Japanese companies to build coal fired power stations in Indonesia, which makes the UN very unhappy because the UN does not support coal-powered projects, even if they lower CO2 emissions. Coal is evil, after all.

Newsweek:  U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres was apparently unaware of where those funds wound up until it was brought to her attention by the AP. Figueres told the AP that “there is no argument” for supporting coal-powered projects with climate money, and that “unabated coal has no room in the future energy system.”

Watch the anamorphosis as the PR picture turns inside out. Good money becomes bad money. What was UN money becomes not-UN money.  What was a CO2 reduction (with a more efficient coal fired power) becomes unsupportable.

The journalists at Reuters had to correct their Newsweek article within hours:

This article was corrected to clarify that the nearly $1 billion were not specifically U.N. funds, but rather Japanese funds that Japan claimed at the U.N. were part of its contribution to a U.N. initiative on climate finance.

So it was UN money and part of the “climate momentum” in 2009, but now that it might embarrass the UN (because coal is evil, after all) it’s called Japanese money.

Despite the update the article still says the money is UN money:

The funding came from a pot of money established by the U.N. in 2009, when wealthy nations pledged to accumulate $30 billion in climate finance over the following three years. At the time, Japan agreed to provide about half that sum.

Is it rorting, cronyism, “success” or all three?

So the UN didn’t have any watchdog or clear directives in place, and they’ve been caught. But against their finest intentions, quite possibly the new coal fired stations are reducing CO2. Though they won’t be changing the climate.

The Japanese defend themselves saying there was never a formal definition of what constitutes “climate finance”, and they’ve broken no law or treaty. According to Associated Press “Japan says these plants burn coal more efficiently and are therefore cleaner than old coal plants.” This is quite likely — the new hotter super-critical coal plants which cut emissions by as much as 15% , but oh the dilemma.

If environmentalists really cared about CO2 emissions, they would love the new coal power. Wind and solar dream of being that environmentally useful. The more we use  renewables, the less CO2 they save. In South Australia residents pay 150 times as much for energy that produces almost as much CO2 as would have been made anyway.

Rinse, Repeat, recycle that corruption

The UN is not too concerned about whether the environmental donations get wasted, or achieve anything for the environment. Apparently they value the PR more.

Meanwhile, the recently-established Green Climate Fund, which has similar goals to help poorer nations adapt to the warming climate, also has no watchdog agency or formal definition of climate finance, according to the AP. President Obama recently pledged $3 billion to the fund.

You could be forgiven for thinking that the priority UN outcome is not about getting the weather to change, but about getting more of your money in order to continue to not change the weather.

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