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UN’s definition of ‘climate finance’ comes under scrutiny

Lima (Peru), Dec 4 (PTI) The UN’s definition of ‘climate finance’ came under the scrutiny of developing countries and civil society here today after it emerged that about USD 1 billion in Japanese funding meant for combating global warming was used to build three coal-fired power plants in Indonesia.

The Green Climate Fund (GCF), established with a proposed USD 100 billion budget in order to assist developing countries with climate-related projects, nor the general UN climate fund of USD 30 billion set up in 2009, have any established guidelines or oversight.

Japan has claimed that its approximately USD 1 billion, used to build three coal-fired power plants in Indonesia, was part of the contribution to the 2009 fund. Coal burning plants are the biggest source of CO2 emissions in the world, but the money was intended for funding “green” projects.

Developing countries have said that since there is no clear definition of climate finance, Japan and any other developed countries can walk away from incidents such as these without legally having done anything wrong.

Approximately 250 civil society organizations have signed a letter sent to the Green Climate Fund Board, asking for what they call an ‘exclusion list’, prohibiting certain projects from being able to to be labeled as ‘green’ or in the spirit of the overall mission of the Lima talks which is to reduce emissions and slow global warming.

Even the UN’s Standing Committee on Finance has called for a codified and clear definition of what entails “climate finance”.

India’s interim delegation head Susheel Kumar has stressed that India has been doing a “better” job of “cleaner development”.

The GCF is intended to further these efforts by India and other developing countries. Japanese-funded coal-fired plants are an example of a potential hindrance of developing countries’ efforts if a definition of what constitutes climate finance is not clear.

“We cannot allow the fossil fuel industry…to take the limited funds intended for responding to the devastating impacts of climate change, especially on vulnerable people whose lives and livelihoods are most affected,” said Samantha Smith of the World Wildlife Federation’s Global Climate and Energy Initiative in support of the call for an ‘exclusion list’.

Parties to the Lima talks on climate change will discuss the GCF on December 6 and the GCF Board will likely take up the subject at its next meeting in February 2015.

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