Climate Finance and Europe: lost momentum and challenges ahead

by Merylyn Hedger

Opinion No 5 - July 2010

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One of the most depressing aspects of the lost momentum on the post 2012 deal has been the lack of effective leadership from the EU. Despite the strong cards it held for Copenhagen with well-placed Scandinavian ministers, supported by the personal commitment of the heads of France, UK and Germany, it emerged as isolated and weak. The ambiguous status of the Copenhagen (CPH) Accord within the UNFCCC system added to uncertainties. The EU then played its key card, which is its adherence to its unilateral 20% cut by 2020, and not the 30% cut which was contingent on a global deal. Recently however the new Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard has been trying to reinvigorate the negotiations showing that the 30% cut would now not be so costly for the EU to adopt. But there is a long way to go if Cancun is to deliver anything credible.

Focusing on the critical finance dimension, the situation has become more intractable since Copenhagen because larger EU finance issues have emerged. With the credibility of the Euro undermined and the financial crisis putting pressure on leadership in the UK, France and Germany, an EU drive has been lacking. Worse still the Greek crisis has revealed a deepening leadership crisis stemming from an anti-Brussels backlash in member states. Read more.

About the author:

Merylyn Hedger is an environmental policy specialist who has worked within international, national and local levels of governance. She has specialised on climate change for 15 years, first as WWF's International Policy Coordinator, and later established the UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP). She was head of climate change in the Environment Agency and then became a national expert at the European Environment Agency. Her research interests are on climate change- finance and institutions, low carbon pathways for poor countries and integration of adaptation and mitigation. As a Research Fellow at IDS she has been focusing on climate finance and planning and institutional aspects of climate change.