UN calls current climate funding an 'umbrella in a hurricane'

BONN, Germany – Not millions, not billions, but trillions.

This is the amount of funding and investment the world needs if it is to protect itself from the devastating impacts of climate change, according to Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

"Let me put it this way. Trying to address climate change at current financing levels is like walking into a Category 5 Hurricane protected only by an umbrella," Espinosa said on Wednesday, May 2, at the opening of the Bonn Climate Change Conference's Talanoa Dialogue. 

All eyes are on the Talanoa Dialogue, the first meeting that will see government negotiators, businesses, and civil society come together to discuss how to raise the emissions reduction targets set forth in each country's Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). 

NDCs are pledges countries made under the Paris Agreement that outline what actions they will take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, or when the agreement begins implementation.

Espinosa warned that this could mean more chaos for those who are already suffering the consequences of extreme weather. 

"Let me be perfectly clear about what that means. A 3ºC temperature rise will lead to nothing less than global destabilization," Espinosa said.

She added: "It will cost lives, raise competition over resources, and increase instability and conflict, especially in places already undergoing economic, political, and social stress." 

Espinosa said more funding is needed to support countries as they scale up emissions reduction in their NDCs. She said the current commitment of developed nations amounting to $100 billion a year is simply not enough.

Aside from funding for climate mitigation and adaptation, negotiators in Bonn will, over the next days, debate about a new finance mechanism called loss and damage, which refers to compensation for impacts of climate change that countries can no longer adapt to.

"You can and must do more. You can help turn that umbrella into something solid, strong, and sustainable," Espinosa said. – Rappler.com

Ping Manongdo is attending the Bonn Climate Change Conference as a Climate Tracker fellow. She is a correspondent with Eco-Business.