An upcoming global summit on climate change is unlikely to result in more ambitious targets or additional financing for developing nations struggling to adapt, South Africa’s Environment Minister said.
Africa alone will need as much as $407 billion over the next 10 years to adapt to a warming planet, Barbara Creecy told a conference Monday.
The issue is set to take center stage at next month’s COP27 gathering in Egypt but meetings held in the lead up indicate few fresh commitments are in the offing.
“We have seen devastating floods. We have also seen severe drought and of course we know that all of the small island states are facing rising sea levels,” she said. “We would like to see respect around the special needs and circumstances of our continent.”
Though Africa is the world’s least developed continent and produces just 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions responsible for heating the atmosphere, it’s due to suffer some of the worst consequences.
Creecy is among the leading voices in Africa calling for more funds to help developing countries transition to renewable energy and buttress their infrastructure against increasingly extreme weather.
Yet even getting rich nations to honor existing commitments is proving challenging, she said. For instance, last year’s COP26 climate talks in Glasgow yielded a pledge to double the financing available for adaptation by 2025 but gave few firm details.
“This has been rhetoric that we’ve heard over and over,” she said. “We need to understand how we are actually going to get to doubling this adaptation financing.”
Much of the adaptation financing made available so far has come in the form of loans, but Creecy said that wouldn’t be enough to cover all of Africa’s needs and multilateral lenders would have to shift tack.
“We want to see a greater deployment of non-debt instruments,” she said, “some forms of transition have revenue streams but some don’t.”