China today boasts the world’s biggest economy, having overtaken the United States according to new International Monetary Fund (IMF) figures. China is also the world’s biggest emitter of “greenhouse gases” blamed for climate change.
At the talks in Lima, China’s negotiator Su Wei singled out Australia, whose conservative government – labeled a “pariah” by climate activists – said last month that instead of contributing to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), it will prioritize climate-related assistance to developing countries through its own development programs.
Despite its fast-growing and now world-leading economy, China is classified a developing country, and as a result has dodged “greenhouse gas” (GHG) emission-reduction targets set for developed nations under the Kyoto Protocol and other international climate agreements. It was just last month that China agreed, for the first time, to work on reducing emissions.
Launched in 2011, the GCF is designed to help developing countries curb GHH emissions....The aim is to raise $100 billion a year from public and private sources, by 2020. At a pledging conference in Berlin last month, more than 20 governments committed a total of $9.3 billion for the fund. Far in the lead was the United States, with a $3 billion pledge, followed by Japan with $1.5 billion.
Su told reporters in Lima Thursday that the total pledge of $9.3 billion was “far from adequate,” noting the large gap between that amount and the 2020 goal of $100 billion a year....
Despite Su’s criticism of wealthy countries’ commitments to the GCF, China has not itself pledged any money to the fund. (At a U.N. climate meeting in New York last September China did offer to support “south-south” cooperation on climate change.)
Among countries that did make pledges to the GCF in Berlin last month were some whose economies are dwarfed by China’s. Luxembourg, for instance, pledged $6 million, Panama $1 million and Mongolia $50,000.
According to new IMF data which for the first time saw China’s economy overtake that of the United States, China’s 2014 national economic output (GDP in purchasing-power parity terms) is $17.6 trillion....
Finland, with a GDP of $221 billion, pledged $100 million to the fund, and Denmark, with a GDP of $248.6 billion, pledged $70 million. Apart from China, other countries with large economies that have made no pledge to the GCF include Russia, with a GDP of $3.5 trillion, and Brazil, with a GDP of $3.07 trillion.
The GCF announced this week it will be ready to start accepting proposals for financing projects by 2015....
The total amount pledged to the GCF so far is $9.3 billion. The contributors are: the United States $3 billion, Japan $1.5 billion, Britain $1.1 billion, Germany $1 billion, France $1 billion, Sweden $500 million, Italy $300 million, Canada $264 million, Spain $150 million, the Netherlands $100 million, Finland $100 million, Switzerland $100 million, South Korea $100 million, Denmark $70 million, Mexico $10 million, Czech Republic $6 million, Luxembourg $6 million, New Zealand $3 million, Norway $1.3 million, Panama $1 million, Monaco $300,000, Indonesia $250,000 and Mongolia $50,000."
Image: "China’s chief climate negotiator Su Wei. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus, File)"