Counting the money

The rejoicing and back-slapping at the conclusion at the weekend of the Paris climate summit extended even to the African delegations. Historically sidelined, they had come to the UN meeting determined that this time they would make their voices heard.

South Africa’s environment minister Edna Molewa, for one, was ecstatic about the deal. “I just wish I could jump high now. South Africa accepts the Paris Agreement as the best agreement at this moment. It is not perfect, but it represents a major leap forward for developing countries,” Molewa said. 

Nigeria’s newly-appointed environment minister, Amina Mohammed, noted that “Africa leaves Paris with its head high with adaptation and climate finance for renewable energies.”

If it was all about the money, then Africa got what it wanted early on in the conference. In one major success, the European Union, Sweden and G7 jointly pledged $10 billion to the newly-minted African Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI), whose goal is to supply at least 300GW of power by 2030 through clean energy sources.

Pledges secured, African delegations seemed to go quiet at the summit. It was left to civil society to demand more robust positions on compensation for climate damage, and deeper cuts on emissions by industrialized countries.

“The agreement will not keep the world to the below 1.5 degrees and this will mean more losses and damages, floods, droughts, sea level rise, and conflicts in Africa", said Sam Ogallah of the PanAfrican Climate Justice Alliance.

One-off financial pledges cannot match the possibly trillions of dollars in new and additional money required to combat climate change. Those financial flows need to be predictable, transparent and monitored. 

“And how will those funds be managed - how sure are we that they will come?” questioned environmental activist and writer Wanjohi Kabukuri. Given the multiplicity of funding channels “it’s going to be like a maize to trace and keep everyone accountable," he told IRIN.

There are currently more than 40 funding mechanisms set up to distribute climate money. They have overlapping remits and different reporting procedures. As funding grows, it’s only going to get more complicated. The following graphic tries to make sense of the existing acronym soup.