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How to ensure climate-change finance really is "new and additional"

Rich nations’ pledges mean nothing without baselines, say academics

Academics warn that the industrialized world’s promise of billions of “new and additional” dollars to help developing nations tackle climate change is meaningless without a baseline from which to count new funds.

In a briefing paper published by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), they outline two workable options for defining a baseline that would balance the demands of donor and recipient nations.

The paper was formally launched during the ongoing UN climate-change negotiations in Bonn.

The paper’s authors call for a UN-based system to define baselines and monitor pledges and payments. They say this must happen if developed nations are to regain the trust of developing nations that is essential for a global climate deal.

Last December the industrialized nations committed to provide developing nations with US$30 billion of "new and additional" funding between 2010 and 2012, as well as US$100 billion per year by 2020.

But developing nations fear that to meet this promise, the developed countries will simply rename existing aid budgets or count previous pledges of climate finance.

The paper was written by Saleemul Huq, senior fellow in IIED's climate change group; Martin Stadelmann, researcher at the Center for International and Comparative Studies in Switzerland; and J. Timmons Roberts, director of the Center for Environmental Studies at Brown University, United States.

"Funding from developed countries to help developing countries tackle climate change has the potential to re-build the lost trust between the two sets of countries — but only if it is done properly," says Saleemul Huq. "Agreeing on baselines for assessing 'new and additional' climate funds is key."

Co-author J. Timmons Roberts says: "When is a promise not a promise? When there's no specified baseline that would allow anyone to know if the promise has been fulfilled. That's the case with the Copenhagen Accord's climate finance promise, which like many past aid promises could lead to billions of dollars being transferred with no trust-building accomplished."

Martin Stadelmann says: "Can you imagine the EU pledging to reduce its emissions by say 30% by 2020 without saying if this is 30% below the 1990 or 2005 levels? Yet this is what rich nations did with their funding pledges in Copenhagen when they made a pledge without a reference point and, therefore, without a clear meaning. For mutual accountability, we need an international rule that any pledge has to be accompanied by a baseline."

Download the paper Baseline for trust: defining ‘new and additional’ climate funding

For interviews, contact:
Saleemul Huq ( +44 77 3186 0103
J. Timmons Roberts ( +1 401-441-2103
Martin Stadelmann ( +41 77 437 97 81

For other enquiries, contact:
Mike Shanahan
Press officer
International Institute for Environment and Development
3 Endsleigh Street
London WC1H 0DD
Tel: 44 (0) 207 388 2117
Fax: 44 (0) 207 388 2826

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