There’s a lot to like about the climate pledges that nearly 150 countries have now submitted to the United Nations in advance of the climate summit in Paris in December. I’ve grouped them into seven storylines that I think deserve attention.
The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is the newest funding source to address climate change in developing countries. With $10 billion in pledges – and $5 billion committed to mitigation – the GCF is at a critical juncture because its Board is considering the rules and protocols it will follow when it pays for results. We believe the GCF can learn a lot from existing results-based aid agreements and the state of REDD+ finance (summarized in the forthcoming report of a CGD Working Group) which demonstrate the strengths and weaknesses of pay for results approaches.
Sincere thanks to Dr. MacDicken and colleagues for taking the time to respond publicly to the concerns I raised. Not every large international agency would take the time to do this, so I commend their transparency and public engagement.
Last week, CGD released a working paper by Jonah Busch and Jens Engelmann on the future of the world’s forests. At first glance, the predictions are dire: an area of tropical forest the size of India gone by 2050, one-sixth of the world’s carbon budget spent in the next 35 years, a world more prone to storms and natural disasters. But there is hope.
Unless the world acts to reduce deforestation, an area the size of India will be cleared by 2050. That is the stark finding of a new CGD paper by Jonah Busch and Jens Engleman. The amount of carbon dioxide emitted by that level of destruction is equivalent to “running 44,000 American coal-fired power plants for a year,” says Busch in this CGD Podcast.
An area of tropical forest the size of India will be deforested in the next 35 years, burning through more than one-sixth of the remaining carbon that can be emitted if global warming is to be kept below 2 degrees Celsius (the “planetary carbon budget”), but many of these emissions could be cheaply avoided by putting a price on carbon.
The story of climate change and development can be told in three simple pie charts: Developing countries are hurt most by climate change (chart #1). Historically, developed countries were most responsible for climate change (chart #2). But now, developing countries are most responsible for climate change (chart #3). That shift may be what leads to a successful climate agreement this December in Paris.