Ireland must increase climate finance contributions six-fold

Ireland must increase its funding of projects tackling climate change by nearly six times the current amount in order to fairly contribute to global efforts to prevent catastrophic global warming, say Christian Aid Ireland and Trócaire in a new report published today (Monday 2 December). 

In 2018, Ireland spent €80 million on climate finance, the funding provided to developing countries, so they can take action on the impacts of climate change and reduce their global greenhouse gas emissions.

However, Ireland’s annual climate finance contributions would need to increase to nearly €475 million ($522 million) of the $100 billion a year (€91 billion) agreed by donors at the Paris Agreement in 2015 to be provided to developing countries to take climate action.

The joint Christian Aid Ireland and Trócaire report is published on the first day of COP 25, a two-week long high-level UN climate conference in Madrid. The joint-report calls for any increase in climate financing to come from newly available money rather than taken from existing aid budgets and should sit alongside Ireland’s commitment to contribute 0.7% of its gross national income (GNI) towards tackling global poverty.

Jenny Higgins, Christian Aid Ireland’s Policy and Advocacy Advisor, said: “Unless Ireland and other developed countries step up and fairly contribute financially, developing countries will never be able to afford to deal with the very real consequences of climate change nor reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions levels. It is vital that additional climate financing is not diverted from existing aid budgets or commitments, otherwise we will be in the situation of robbing Peter to pay Paul and choosing between life-saving projects and efforts to tackle climate change.”

Cliona Sharkey, Policy Advisor with Trócaire, said: “Ireland is yet to experience the extent of the devastating impacts of climate change that are a daily reality for the poorest people in the world, who are suffering increasingly frequent and intense droughts, devastating cyclones and other extreme weather conditions. The only way we will be able to stop global temperatures rising beyond the agreed limit of 1.5 degrees is for all nations to work together. Increasing support to the poorest countries to enable them to take action is a profound moral imperative, and a practical necessity if global climate goals are to be achieved.”

The joint-report also calls for more climate financing to be earmarked towards covering the costs of damage and destruction already caused by extreme weather conditions, such as Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines in 2013 and is estimated to have caused $10 billion in damage. Poorer nations are least responsible for the climate crisis and therefore should not have to pick up the bill of this damage on their own.

The climate crisis exacerbates poverty and Christian Aid and Trócaire have been responding to the impacts of climate change in the poorest countries around the world for more than a decade, supporting communities to pick up the pieces when disasters strike and to be better equipped to respond to such events in the future.

It has been estimated that developing nations will face 75% of the cost of the climate crisis and data analysis has shown that since 2000 their citizens have died at a rate 7 times higher than in richer nations. It has also been found that while the poorest half of the world’s population are responsible for only 10% of carbon emissions, the richest 10 countries are responsible for 50% of all carbon emissions.

Ireland has the third highest level of carbon emissions per person in the EU and in 2018 was ranked the worst performing country in Europe for action on climate change. The average person in Ireland generates as much CO2 as 303 Burundians.

 

For further information, receive a copy of the report or to arrange interviews, contact Paul Donohoe, Christian Aid Ireland’s Head of Media and Communications at pdonohoe@christian-aid.org or on +353 1 406 55 46 or +447779624385.

Notes for editors

  1. This figure is based on data from the Climate Equity Reference Framework to estimate Ireland’s fair share of the $100 billion a year goal. It factors in Ireland’s historic levels of pollution and current capacity. The Climate Equity Reference framework is an effort sharing framework developed and updated over many years by EcoEquity and the Stockholm Environment Institute.
  2. The Paris Agreement in 2015 accepted $100 billion as the amount required by developing countries each year to take climate action. OECD figures indicate $71.2 billion was given to developing countries as climate financing in 2017.
  3. Ireland is currently responsible for 0.26% of global greenhouse emissions.
  4. Ireland’s climate finance contributions were €80 million in 2018 and €69 million in 2017.
  5. In 2020, Ireland’s aid budget is set to be €837million, the equivalent of 0.41% of GNI.