With world leaders meeting in Dubai for the COP28 meetings, analysis of a huge new set of data reveals the full extent to which efforts to tackle the climate crisis are being hampered by the opaque, inaccurate and inflated reporting of key financing commitments.
The Climate Finance Files, published by anti-poverty organization The ONE Campaign, provide the world’s most comprehensive open-source data on public international climate financing.
The files, which draw from public data on hundreds of thousands of climate projects, show in granular detail how lack of transparency is undermining the global fight against climate change.
With leaders expected to formally announce they met the $100 billion annual target for financing climate action in developing countries in 2022, ONE is warning this is unlikely to be a true reflection of what countries spent.
Instead, analysis of the new data has revealed that nearly two-thirds of climate finance commitments counted by the OECD between 2013 and 2021 – a staggering $343 billion – are never reported as disbursed or had little connection to climate.
Other key findings from the data include:
- Over $1 in every $5 of climate finance commitments in the OECD’s open dataset between 2013 and 2021 – worth $115 billion — is spent on things that have little to do with climate.
- Bilateral providers consistently report far less in disbursements than they have committed. Less than half of the climate finance they committed between 2013 and 2021 was reported as disbursed or was meaningfully related to climate. A difference of $135 billion.
- In 2021, the world’s 20 most climate-vulnerable countries received just 6.5% of the climate finance they need each year to address climate change.
Dr David McNair, Executive Director of Policy at The ONE Campaign, said:“The global climate crisis threatens everything that we care about most – but we aren’t going to turn this around if no one is checking the receipts.”
“Putting the world back on track will take unprecedented investment, but instead we face the “wild west” of climate finance – where efforts to protect both people and planet are undermined by broken promises, falsehoods and dubious accounting. Without better reporting, hundreds of billions of dollars will continue to get swallowed in this black hole,” he added.
According to McNair “Transparency, accuracy and accountability are never just nice to haves. Faced with a global challenge of this scale, we must be sure that the money is flowing where it is needed most and is being used effectively. The Climate Finance Files finally provide people everywhere with the tools to track this finance and hold their governments and other contributors to account.”
As COP28 gets underway, ONE is calling on countries to meet their historic climate finance commitments, including actually delivering the promised $100 billion and making up for the funding shortfall. They also must meet the commitment made at COP26 in Glasgow to double adaptation finance by 2025.