Global Call: $9 Trillion Needed Each Year by 2030 to Bridge Climate Finance Divide

"Avangrid's True North Solar Project in Texas Showcases Vital Role of Climate Finance in Green Investments, But More Action Needed to Meet Global Climate Goals"

The significance of climate finance in propelling green investments into the forefront has never been more apparent than with Avangrid’s True North solar project in Falls County, Texas. This project, bolstered by subsidies under the Inflation Reduction Act, serves as a prime example of the increasing momentum behind climate-friendly initiatives backed by governmental incentives.

However, the attainment of global climate objectives demands a substantial upscaling of investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and ecosystem restoration. The International Renewable Energy Agency projects that an average of 11,000 gigawatts of renewable power capacity must be constructed annually until 2030, necessitating substantial financial commitments. Bridging the Climate Funding Gap According to the Climate Policy Initiative, global climate finance must rise to approximately $9 trillion annually by 2030 to cap average global temperature increases in alignment with the Paris Agreement. Europe alone necessitates €800 billion in energy infrastructure investment to meet its 2030 climate targets. The region requires a total of €2.5 trillion for the green transition by 2050. In the years 2021-22, climate financing soared to nearly $1.3 trillion, a significant surge from $364 billion in 2011-12. The majority of this growth is attributed to mitigation finance, particularly in the renewable energy and transport sectors. Noteworthy increases have been observed in clean energy investments in China, the United States, Europe, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Nevertheless, adaptation finance continues to lag, with only $63 billion allocated in 2021-22. This falls well short of the estimated $212 billion required by developing nations alone by 2030. Adaptation finance aims to bolster communities’ resilience to climate hazards, yet funding remains inadequate. Analysts estimate that the $9 trillion target must escalate to over $10 trillion annually from 2031 to 2050. To address this financing shortfall, governments are exploring various mechanisms, including wealth taxes, levies on shipping, and corporate taxes. For example, the US intends to generate $300 billion over a decade through a minimum tax on corporate profits and a stock buyback tax to finance climate initiatives.

The urgency of climate finance has been underscored by international commitments to phase out fossil fuels and triple renewable energy capacity by 2030. The upcoming COP29 conference in Baku, Azerbaijan, is expected to place significant emphasis on climate finance, particularly in establishing global objectives to support the transition efforts of developing nations. While the private sector plays a substantial role in financing the green transition (70%), the public sector must also contribute. The International Energy Agency suggests that public finance will need to cover approximately 30% of global climate finance. Public funds should primarily target critical infrastructure and adaptation measures. Governments are exploring various revenue-raising options, including carbon pricing mechanisms and taxes on fossil fuel extraction. Ireland’s carbon tax, for instance, directs increased revenues towards climate-related investments and fuel poverty prevention. Other nations are contemplating innovative financing strategies, such as windfall taxes on oil and gas companies and tourism levies. Additionally, efforts are underway to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies, redirecting funds towards climate action initiatives.

Despite the challenges in securing financing, energy strategist Kingsmill Bond contends that capital is available but must be effectively deployed. Intelligent regulations and incentives, such as the EU’s REPowerEU strategy, can stimulate private investments in renewables and foster sustainable growth. In developing countries, where financial constraints are more pronounced, international cooperation and concessional financing are vital. Sovereign green bonds and climate finance frameworks aim to mobilize private sector investment and bolster green projects in emerging economies. The authors of the CPI’s Global Landscape of Climate Finance 2023 report propose that closing the funding gap is theoretically achievable, particularly in light of global spending patterns. They highlight that while global military spending reached $2.2 trillion in 2022 (SIPRI, 2023), emergency fiscal measures totaling $11.7 trillion were announced globally in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Moving forward, the CPI advocates for addressing disparities in the current distribution of climate finance. Despite agriculture and industry being significant sources of emissions, they received disproportionately low funding in 2021-22 relative to their mitigation potential. The report also stresses the importance of investing in emerging technologies like battery storage and hydrogen, showcasing untapped investment opportunities. Ultimately, achieving a sustainable and resilient future necessitates concerted efforts from governments, businesses, and financial institutions. By reallocating financial resources towards climate-friendly investments, the global community can expedite the shift to a greener economy and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Matt Lyons

Matt Lyons

Matt Lyons is the founder of Forestry & Carbon. Matt has over 25 years as a forestry consultant and is invoilved in numerous carbon credit offset projects.

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