Thunderstorm over the Brunswick River

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20 November 2014 – In a sign of moderate progress, a pledging session held today in Berlin, Germany, for the United Nations Green Climate Fund raised up to $9.3 billion USD in much needed funds for an initial four year period.

“Today’s pledging session, while an important start, is nowhere near what is needed to sufficiently catalyze real movement on the ground in developing countries to undertake the paradigm shift towards low-carbon development and climate resilience,” said Meena Raman of Friends of the Earth Malaysia. “It remains to be seen whether this will be enough to provide momentum for further climate action at the upcoming UN climate summit in Peru.”

The total pledged represents a disconnect between the actions that developed countries say are needed to confront climate change and what can actually be accomplished with the quantum of funds announced.

“While developed countries expressed the need for transformational change to happen in developing countries, they are not putting the required amount of money where their mouth is,” continued Raman.

More than $110 million of the total pledged comes from developing countries, and several developed countries may contribute a portion of the funds in the form of loans instead of grants. Thus, the actual total from developed countries is even further from the $10-$15 billion goal than appears at first glance.

“The head of the Green Climate Fund had called for up to $15 billion — an amount itself pegged to suit the politics of developed countries, not the needs of developing countries in the face of the climate crisis,” said Karen Orenstein of Friends of the Earth U.S. “But developed countries did not even hit the $10 billion mark, an amount considered the lowest threshold for political momentum. We hope that developed countries come up with, at minimum, the balance of the funds by the end of year, and, of course, the world will certainly be watching closely to see if countries actually deliver on their pledges.”

The provision of climate finance by developed countries is a moral obligation, as well as a legal one under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“The provision of climate finance from developed to developing countries is part of the repayment of the climate debt that developed countries owe developing countries. That France or any other country would require repayment of any part of their contribution is unacceptable, as is any earmarking of funds – such as was done by the United States – for the Private Sector Facility,” said Dipti Bhatnagar of Friends of the Earth International.

“When rich nations are spending hundreds of billions of dollars every year on war and corporate welfare for the fossil fuel industry and the financial sector, we shouldn’t really have to be fighting for crumbs in order to address the climate crisis,” Bhatnagar continued.


Notes for editors:

  • France has announced that a portion of its pledge will be in the form of loans, while some other countries have not made clear if any portion of their contributions will be loans.
  • The White House last week released a fact sheet stating that a “significant portion” of its pledge will be earmarked to the GCF’s Private Sector Facility.
  • The Green Climate Fund, a new institution under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, is tasked with channeling funds primarily from developed to developing countries — to meet their adaptation and mitigation needs. It is expected to be the world’s premier international climate fund.


For more information:

U.S. Karen Orenstein, +1-202-640-8679,

International: Meena Raman, 41-795065039,

Communications Contact: Kate Colwell, +1 (202) 222-0744,


Image: Alan Cressler