The Landscape of Climate Finance
12:00 - 13:00
In 2009, developed countries committed to a goal of jointly mobilizing USD 100 billion per year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries with respect to their climate change mitigation and adaptation needs. By compiling data from a wide range of sources, this study finds that at least USD 97 billion per annum is already being provided to support low-carbon, climate-resilient development activities in developing countries. However, the figure relates to commitments not disbursements, counted at their gross value (rather than the net ‘aid’ value). It includes both private and public sources of finance and both incremental and investment capital.
While this finding raises questions about how the USD 100 billion goal should be interpreted, it also calls attention to the imperative questions of how much and what types of finance are needed? Understanding how much and what type of support is being made available to advance action on low-carbon, climate-resilient development, how these types of support correspond to countries’ needs, and whether financial resources are being spent productively, is critical to building trust among countries and ensuring the effective use of the available financial resources.
This study offers a first comprehensive overview of the climate finance landscape, from which to build this understanding. It maps out major flows of finance from their sources and the intermediaries involved in their distribution, to the financial instruments and channels used to deliver them to their final uses. In doing so, it stimulates thinking and action on next steps in developing a comprehensive tracking system that ultimately helps countries learn how to spend money wisely.
Some key findings:
- The amount of private finance is almost three times greater than public finance. The role of the private sector in our figures is a reminder of the fact that capital investment is crucial for any mitigation and adaptation activities.
- Carbon finance plays only a small role in climate finance at present.
- Intermediaries such as bilateral and multilateral financial institutions play a key role in distributing climate finance (around 40% of the total).
- Dedicated climate funds, typically managed by bilateral and multilateral institutions, channel a small but growing portion of finance.
- Most climate finance, USD 74-87 billion out of USD 97 billion, can be classified as investment rather than incremental cost contributions for transitioning to low-carbon, climate-resilient activities.
- The large majority of climate finance (USD 93 billion out of USD 97 billion) is used for mitigation measures; only a very small share goes to adaptation efforts.
- While there are many efforts underway to track and document elements of the climate finance landscape, information is fragmented and in places missing which impedes a better understanding of what is needed to enhance the effectiveness of climate finance.
The report can be downloaded at:
The study received a lot of media attention. Articles published in the Economist and in the Financial Times can be downloaded here: