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Big headline climate funds, all puff, no money — Red tape strangles Pacific Islands. No one cares.

Giant climate funds issue giant press releases but not much else.The pledges aren’t being kept, hardly any money is being handed out. The posterchild drowning Islands are being left dangling in danger because the forms are too complicated.

Everyone wants to save the world, but not enough to make the forms simpler:

Red tape’ locking small island states out of billions in climate funds

Many small developing countries are so administratively stretched that they cannot fill in all the complex forms needed to access climate money to help them to reduce emissions and adapt to increasing global temperatures, rising sea levels and extreme weather.

Small Pacific Islands will drown in red tape before they drown in a rising ocean:

Although billions of dollars of climate money is theoretically available, in practice red tape and paperwork makes it is extremely hard and slow to get hold of, says the Commonwealth Secretariat, the central institution of the 53 Commonwealth countries, who are among the hardest hit by climate change.

UN priorities? What’s more important — collecting funds to save the Islands, or saving the actual islands…

Fiji’s high commissioner in London, Jitoko Tikolevu, said the process of applying for climate funds was “very cumbersome”. “We need to be trained how to access the money. It’s one thing having it available, it’s another getting access to it.

The solution? Don’t simplify forms, employ more bureaucrats:

Low institutional capacity, convoluted forms, and a complex and slow approval process all but denies small countries, says the secretariat, which is to pay for experts to work with small Commonwealth countries to help them access money.

Big Climate Fund Puffery

All talk, no action. The Green Climate Fund has spent only 4% of what was promised:

The Green climate fund (GCF), which is based in South Korea and will become the world’s main channel for climate finance, has been pledged about $10bn so far by rich countries, but has only approved investments of about $424m in 17 projects (pdf) since November 2015.

It has an “aspirational goal” to commit $2.5bn this year, which many observers say it is unlikely to meet.

Don’t mix the Green Climate Fund up with the nameless pot of $100 billion which is candidly referred to only as “One Hundred Billion Dollars”. It’s not a Fund to Save Earth,so much as a Fund to get Funds. I’ll call it the OHBD fund. This is a fund that began in Copenhagen in 2009.

Rich countries together pledged to mobilise $100bn (£77bn) a year by 2020 in last year’s Paris climate talks. But, according to new analysis by the Commonwealth Secretariat, since 2009 only $726m has been received by the smallest 31 small Commonwealth states, including Dominica, Guyana, Namibia, Nauru, Solomon Islands, St Kitts and Nevis, Tonga and Vanuatu.

Perhaps with a bit more research The Guardian might find a newer link, but the “OHBD” Fund page is a year old, and most of the links are forbidden. I went looking to see how much of the $100b a year they were getting and spending. The joint statement mentions the “$100 billion dollar goal” many times, but doesn’t mention any specific numbers or achievements except for the word-salad that “initial resource mobilization to exceed $10 billion” in 2014. (What ever that means). So six years after they started they’ve reached 10% (maybe) of their target. Four busy years to go then?

It’s no accident I can’t find a number, the “Key Elements of Our Common Methodology” is that they can’t account:

“It is important to note that current data and methodological limitations prevent us from accounting for the full range of flows that we are mobilizing towards the $100 billion goal at this time, in particular those mobilized through public policy interventions. As such, any near-term estimate produced will necessarily be partial, and will omit some – and possibly a substantial amount – of climate finance mobilized. We intend to continue to improve our methodology as data availability increases and measurement methods evolve, and, as a result, we expect our reporting to become more complete over time.”

More proof it seems that the big climate funds are mostly there to grab headlines.

Meanwhile red tape is warming the world, and increasing deadly emissions. Where are the Environmentalists Against Redtape? Off partying with the Grassroots Form Fillers who could save whole Islands at the stroke of a pen, but are too busy asking for more money to put in nameless UN pots.


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