Wealthy nations will not deliver a long-promised 100 billion dollars a year in climate finance for poor countries until 2023, three years late, a report has found.

Public and private finance totalling 100 US billion dollars (£72 billion) a year by 2020 – to help poor countries develop cleanly and cope with the impacts of global warming – was first promised at troubled UN talks in Copenhagen in 2009.

The pledge, which was extended in 2015 to run through to 2025, has become a totemic figure for international climate action to support countries which have done least to contribute to the crisis but are most vulnerable to its impacts.

Delivering finance has been one of the key aims for the UK as host of the latest round of UN climate talks which start in Glasgow in less than a week, with Cop26 president Alok Sharma describing it as “a matter of trust”.

Alok Sharma
Alok Sharma (Justin Tallis/PA)

Analysis shows that while developed countries have scaled up climate finance flows in the last decade, the 100 billion dollar target is unlikely to have been met in 2020, and is also likely to fall short in 2021 and 2022.

A climate finance delivery plan, led by German state secretary Jochen Flasbarth and Canada’s environment and climate minister Jonathan Wilkinson at the request of Mr Sharma, said there was confidence the target would be met in 2023.

Developed countries are likely to be able to mobilise more than 100 billion dollars a year in the following years, it found.

The plan, which aimed to provide clarity on when and how developed countries would meet the goal, draws on analysis from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and includes new pledges of financial support made by countries up until October 20.

(PA Graphics)

Mr Sharma said the plan provided clarity, transparency and accountability, was a step towards rebuilding trust and would give developing countries more assurance of predictable support.

But he added: “We can and must do more to get finance flowing to developing nations.

“So in the lead-up to Cop26, it’s vital we see further pledges from developed countries and action on key priorities such as access to finance and funding for adaptation.”

Campaigners warned that developed countries needed to do more to provide finance for developing nations.

Teresa Anderson, climate policy co-ordinator at ActionAid International, said delivering an average of 100 billion dollars a year was the bare minimum to build trust in the talks.

She said it was vital support was provided as grants, and at least 50% went to efforts to adapt to climate extremes.

“World leaders must recognise and address the glaring gap between the current 100 billion-a-year target and the trillions needed to tackle the scale and urgency of the crisis,” she added.

The plan comes after analysis by the OECD found that climate finance provided and mobilised by developed countries was just short of 80 billion dollars in 2019.

It also found the majority of the money came from public sources in 2019, with private finance flows underperforming, though the majority of public money was loans rather than grants.

Far more money went towards financing emissions cuts than helping countries and communities adapt to extreme weather and rising seas, despite calls for funding to be divided equally between mitigation and adaption.

Analysis by OECD for the delivery plan does not have figures for what level of finance was delivered in 2020, but forecasts that there will be around 83-88 billion dollars delivered in 2021.

It also estimates finance of between 92 and 97 billion dollars in 2022, and then 101-106 billion dollars in 2023.

By 2025, developed countries will be mobilising 113-117 billion dollars, the analysis forecasts.

The plan sets out measures to deliver on the finance promise, including increasing money for adaptation, prioritising grants for the poorest and most vulnerable, improving access to finance and working with multilateral banks to increase climate finance.

Mohamed Adow, director of Nairobi-based think tank Power Shift Africa, said: “One hundred billion dollars is less than the UK alone is spending on the HS2 rail link, yet the combined wealth of all the world’s developed nations refuses to stump up the cash to help tackle the climate crisis.”

He described it as “utterly shameful”, adding: “The leaders of the developed world need to pull their finger out and get this money on the table if Cop26 is going to be a success.”

Shadow business secretary Ed Miliband said Glasgow needed to be the summit of “climate delivery not climate delay”.

“Any steps forward toward the long-promised 100 billion dollars are welcome but rather than delivering today, this plan appears to offer more promises for tomorrow without the concrete commitments to back them up.”

And he accused the rest of the Government of undermining Mr Sharma’s efforts to deliver the funding, warning that cutting the aid budget had sent “precisely the wrong signal to others” and made it harder to deliver on the goal.