Britain’s Boris Johnson took leaders of wealthy nations to task Monday in a closed-door meeting he co-hosted with UN chief Antonio Guterres, saying he is “increasingly frustrated” at their failure to honor their climate fund pledges.
Ahead of the Paris agreement, developed countries pledged to mobilize $100 billion a year from 2020 to support poorer nations to cut their carbon emissions, minimize the impact of climate change and adapt their economies to deal with its effects.
“Everyone nods and we all agree that ‘something must be done,’“ said Johnson, whose country will host the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in November.
“Yet I confess I’m increasingly frustrated that the something to which many of you have committed is nowhere near enough.”
Last week the OECD confirmed that only $79.6 billion was mobilized in 2019.
Britain for its part trumpeted its $15 billion climate finance pledges over the next five years, and announced Monday that $750 million of that would be allocated to supporting developing countries to meet net zero targets and end the use of the goal.
“Richer nations have reaped the benefits of untrammelled pollution for generations, often at the expense of developing countries,” said Johnson, according to a statement.
“As those countries now try to grow their economies in a clean, green and sustainable way we have a duty to support them in doing so -- with our technology, with our expertise and with the money we have promised.”
The meeting is part of UN climate week, and came days after Guterres warned the world was on a “catastrophic” path to 2.7 degrees Celsius heating, after the latest bombshell report by UN scientists.
The figure would shatter the temperature targets of the Paris climate agreement, which aimed for warming well below 2C and preferably capped at 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.
Though the UN has not yet published a list of leaders who attended the meeting, US President Joe Biden’s public schedule said he would be at his beach house.
China’s President Xi Jinping and India’s Narendra Modi were also absent, according to reports, meaning none of the world’s top three polluters were represented.