More countries reject OECD study on climate aid

China, Brazil and South Africa join India in refusing key report that state rich countries have already mobilised two-thirds of $100bn pledged for climate aid

China, Brazil and South Africa have joined India in rejecting a key OECD study stating that rich countries have already mobilised nearly two-thirds of the $100bn (£67bn) pledged to secure a new climate deal.

The refusal by the world’s four most powerful developing countries to accept the methodology used by western economists, to calculate the money raised for poor countries to adapt to climate change, suggests that finance will be the major hurdle at the end of the talks on Friday.

The OECD study claimed that rich countries had already mobilised $57bn of climate aid in 2013-14, as pledged in 2009. But Indian government economists have claimed that the OECD study counted loans made to developing countries and double-counted aid money, putting the real figure closer to $2bn.

“We welcome the OECD study but we do not recognise the numbers. There are double-counting issues,” said Xie Zhenhua, China’s climate change envoy.

South Africa said that the OECD figures, which have become the rich countries’ negotiating stance, should have been calculated in consultation with developing countries. “The reality is that parties here were not part of pulling together. Double accounting can not be accounted for. They should clearly say what they have provided, to whom and what is being counted,”said Izabella Teixeria, Brazil’s environment minister.

But the EU and 79 small African, Caribbean and Pacific countries joined forces on Wednesday to call for more ambitious deal. The move, which was expected, follows Germany increasing its funding for developing countries by $50m and other rich countries last week providing $250m for a climate fund for developing countries. The G7, the EU and Sweden also pledged €10bn for promoting renewables in Africa.

The move which aligns some of the most vulnerable countries with the EU, splits the G77 group of 132 negotiating countries.

According to the French presidency, progress is being made to reach a deal by the weekend, but negotiators say that there has been no agreement on any of the main issues.

The four Basic countries, which are working together, have refused to state whether they want a long term goal of 2C or 1.5C. China and India are thought to want 2C, Brazil “under 2C”, and South Africa “in the region of 2C.” “We are discussing the matter. We will come up with a joint position,” said Teixeria.

In a separate development, the Pope is expected to lend his powerful moral authority on behalf of countries most vulnerable to climate change, by supporting a new international goal to limit warming to under 2C.

Leaders of low-lying states and other countries most at risk by climate change said on Tuesday they had received very positive responses from the Vatican, and expected the Pope to formally endorse their cause.

“There are cardinals and several bishops very receptive to the 1.5C goal,” Emmanuel de Guzman, the Philippines climate change commissioner and leader of the bloc of climate vulnerable countries told a press briefing.

“Hopefully we will hear something from the Pope this week. They are convinced that 1.5C goal is promoting human rights,” he said. “It is essentially about survival.”

Since the start of the Paris meeting, there has been steady momentum towards adoption of a 1.5C goal which would improve the chances for low-lying countries such as Bangladesh and the Philippines to avoid dangerous climate change.

The US, Canada and the EU have moved on side but the Pope would be the most powerful ally yet.

The pontiff’s intervention on behalf of the poor and others most threatened by global warming in last June’s encyclical has electrified the climate movement.

Campaigners say support from the Pope has been critical in reframing climate change as a matter of human rights and justice – rather than a narrow scientific issue.


John Vidal, Suzanne Goldenberg and Lenore Taylor in Paris

The GuardianTramp

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