French President Emmanuel Macron will meet with world leaders on Tuesday, two years to the day since 195 nations adopted the climate-rescue Paris Agreement this time to talk about money.
Without trillions of dollars of investment in clean energy, the pact’s goal to keep global warming below two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial levels will remain a pipedream, observers and participants warned on the eve of the Paris summit.
Political action “will not be enough if we do not update and reset the global finance architecture and make all development low-emission, resilient, and sustainable,” UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa said.
“We see some movement… but climate consideration must now be part of all private sector decisions,” she said.
After the Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015 to cheers and champagne, helped over the finish line by then US president Barack Obama, his successor Donald Trump has cast a long shadow over the process, withdrawing political support and finance.
Money has long been a sore point in the UN climate process, with developing nations insisting on financial assistance to help them make the costly move to less-polluting energy sources, and to shore up defences against climate change-induced superstorms, mega-droughts and land-gobbling sea level rise.
Trump, who has called climate change a “hoax”, announced in June that the United States would pull out of the Paris pact, which had taken nearly 200 nations more than two decades to negotiate.
The US is the only country to reject the agreement.
Trump has also asked Congress to slash the climate research budgets of federal agencies — threatening a loss of billions of dollars and thousands of jobs.
The Trump administration would also not fulfill US climate finance commitments, including an outstanding $2 billion out of $3 billion it had pledged towards the Green Climate Fund.
“The missing piece of the jigsaw is the funding to help the world’s poorer countries access clean energy so they don’t follow the fossil fuel-powered path of the rich world,” said Mohamed Adow of Christian Aid, which represents poor country interests at the UN climate forum.