Regional giant China has asked for money reserved for developing countries from a UN-backed Green Climate Fund. The amount sought exceeds Australia’s entire $200 million first-round contribution.
The Conservative Party has long-argued that Australia should withdraw from the Paris Climate pact and cease all contributions to UN climate funds. (You can sign our petition to get Australia out of Paris here)
The Australian reports, it is the first time China has sought access to the fund, which has become a focus of division between developed and developing countries that threatens the future of the Paris pact.
Australia was expected to be a major ongoing donor to the GCF but Scott Morrison stunned the group by acting in accordance with Australian Conservatives' demand that GCF calls for more donations should be rejected.
The GCF uses donations from wealthy countries to finance projects aimed at helping developing countries adapt to the effects of climate change and lower their greenhouse gas emissions.
China is seeking $US180m ($260m) to help with climate mitigation projects in Shandong province, one of China’s most heavily industrialised centres. If approved, the money would be paid to the central government. China’s application raises old tensions about which countries should be considered as developing. It has said previously it would be a contributor to climate finance for developing nations, not a recipient.
The GCF has approved 76 projects worth $US3.7bn to help developing countries in their low-emission and climate-resilient development, including new cooking stoves in Bangladesh and “gender-responsive” drinking water projects in Ethiopia. The GCF is the first stage of what is supposed to be $100bn a year in climate financing from 2020.
A funding template published by the World Resources Institute said Australia should be the sixth biggest donor to the GCF despite being responsible for only 1.8 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions due to past emissions and current high per-capita levels.
Australia’s decision to withdraw support came ahead of a crucial meeting in Bahrain this week, which had hoped to bring the GCF back from the brink of chaos. It was to consider new projects worth more than $US1bn, including the first from China. The Bahrain meeting must urgently decide how to replenish its finances, running low following Donald Trump’s withdrawal of a $2bn pledge. If left unresolved, the GCF could derail efforts to bring the Paris Agreement into force at a meeting in Poland in December.
Senator Bernardi has told Sky News Australia needs to pull out of Paris immediately.
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