Last Thursday the Overseas Development Institute hosted a lunchtime meeting on the topic of climate finance additionality. The presentations centred on the ODI/ONE paper produced in the run-up to the Copenhagen climate change summit last December, which showed that if climate finance was diverted from existing development assistance budgets then Africa would lose out.
Of course one of the major impacts of climate change is to make the Millennium Development Goals harder to achieve. One of the phrases that stood out at the event was that Africa is now essentially being forced to ‘develop in hostile circumstances’. This situation is not helped when politicians engage in dubious accountancy practices that simply repackage development assistance as climate aid.
For ONE’s Executive Director Jamie Drummond, a speaker at the event, the key is now to focus on how we can raise finance for climate adaptation and mitigation from outside of public budgets. For example, innovative finance ideas such as carbon taxes or aviation levies could raise large sums that could go directly to helping poor communities cope with climate change.
There are, though, opportunities associated with climate change for Africa. The continent has huge potential for renewable energy generation and to a large extent has not started down the path of carbon-driven industrialisation. A new green economic model for development could not only be the answer to growth and jobs in Africa, but also pioneer a low-carbon future for the world as a whole.