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What's Behind the Climate Finance Deadlock at Bonn?

Poor countries want to pin rich nations down on the amount of new financing. Rich countries want to broaden the contributor base. Few seem happy with where the talks ended up

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  • The Bonn climate meetings ended today, with little progress made on a tentpole issue: the New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG) on climate finance

  • This goal is the successor to the US$100bn per year promise made by rich nations to developing countries back in 2009

  • Going into the talks, most countries recognized that the supply of finance would have to increase dramatically to meet the adaptation and mitigation needs of poor states

  • However, developed countries pushed back on efforts to put a number on the NCQG

  • Developing countries, meanwhile, were opposed to proposals to widen the pool of contributors to include other states and private sector sources

  • They also disliked efforts to engender stronger linkages between the goal and the broader international financial system

  • There’s now lots of ground to make up for on the NCQG before COP29, and little time to spare

I could never be a climate diplomat. Their work is crucial, it’s true, but unfolds at a glacial pace in conference halls and side rooms where the meetings go on for hours — or entire days, in some cases. Moreover, all too often the progress made is scant, and the negotiations fraught.

These are the thoughts that ran through my head as I followed the climate change meetings in Bonn, Germany — a 10-day affair intended to lay the groundwork for the UN climate change conference (COP29) later this year. Over 8,000 delegates attended to pore over key negotiation topics for the upcoming summit, and to expand on mandates handed down from last year’s COP28. 

Healthy amounts of time were dedicated to adaptation issues, which are growing in importance (and urgency) across countries. Climate Proof unpacked the discussions here and here.

Looming over the meetings, however, was the question of what a New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG) on climate finance would look like, without which progress toward adaptation and mitigation targets in the developing world could grind to a halt. Indeed, virtually every adaptation-related discussion — from accelerating National Adaptation Plan to developing adaptation target indicators — included exhortations on the importance of finance.

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