（2014-12-05）Norway last night announced that it has doubled its pledge to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to NOK 1.6 billion (US $258 million), bringing the fund to $9.95 billion, within sight of the generally-accepted bare minimum of $10 billion needed to be pledged at the 20th Conference of the Parties (COP 20) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), underway here through December 12.
The Fund is designed to be a conduit for much of the roughly $100 billion per year that should be flowing annually from rich to poor countries to combat climate change.
Norway will make its funds available over the next four years, with NOK 400 million coming each year, beginning in 2015 and continuing through 2018. Earlier in the week, the fund’s director of mitigation and adaptation, Tao Wang, said the bank would begin selecting targets to disburse funds in March of 2015.
“Rich countries must provide the greatest share of the funding, but all countries that have the economic capacity should contribute,” said Minister of Climate and Environment Tine Sundtoft. “Recipient countries have a particular responsibility for providing conditions that attract climate investments.”
What's in it for Forests?
While Norway's pledge doesn't have a direct impact on halting deforestation, one of the Green Climate Fund's priority areas is reducing emissions related to land-use. As deforestation and forest degradation falls under this category, a boost in the GCF's overall funds has broad implications for the sector, Research Analyst at the World Resources Institute, Alex Doukas, says.
A Good Start
Observers welcomed the announcement, and expressed a hope that it would trigger additional funding from other donor countries.
“More financial support for the Green Climate Fund is always welcome and we applaud Norway for increasing their commitment,” said Kelly Dent of Oxfam. “Several developed countries including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Iceland, Greece and Portugal have still failed to offer their support. The Fund has just barely reached the minimum level it needs to get off the ground, but this is still only the first step in achieving the financial support required to enable climate action in developing countries. Negotiators in Lima must not rest on their laurels; a roadmap for how countries will meet the $100 billion annual commitment is urgently needed.”
The $10 billion mark is somewhat arbitrary, Doukas says, noting the adaptation and mitigation needs far outweigh that amount. But it's still a significant number as UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres noted the number would serve as the minimum threshold to make a meaningful impact and serve as a signal to developing countries.
Doukas says reaching $10 billion by the end of COP 20 should prime the pump for discussions leading up to the climate talks in Paris.