Climate finance climbs but 'tectonic' shift urged to meet needs

(Reuters News, 7 Nov 2019) Investment in renewable energy and low-carbon transport has pushed up climate finance in recent years, but it remains "vastly insufficient", analysts say.

Finance for measures to cut climate-changing emissions and adapt to a hotter planet has grown to more than half a trillion dollars a year, but a "tectonic shift" is still needed to green economies and rein in global warming, analysts said on Thursday.

In 2017, global climate finance reached a record high of $612 billion, driven by rising investment in lower-carbon transport and renewable energy in China, India and the United States, said international think-tank Climate Policy Initiative (CPI).

In 2018, the total dropped to $546 billion as governments spent less on green transport and falling costs for clean energy kept business investment lower, CPI said in a report tracking climate finance from governments, companies and households.

But averaged across 2017 and 2018, climate investment was 25% higher than in 2015-2016, with funding for low-carbon transport rising by 54%, it added.

Angela Falconer, CPI associate director, said climate finance was on a rising trend despite the 2018 dip, but remained "vastly insufficient" to cut heat-trapping emissions adequately.

The report said climate-friendly funding had to increase quickly, from billions to trillions, to meet globally agreed goals to curb temperature rise caused by burning fossil fuels, felling forests and other activities that emit greenhouse gases.

Renewable energy was the biggest destination for climate finance in 2017-2018 with nearly 60% of the total - but the $337 billion per year was still far below estimated needs, CPI said.

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Reuters News, 7 Nov 2019: Climate finance climbs but 'tectonic' shift urged to meet needs