| 24 May 2024, Friday |

Billions pledged for climate by Bezos, Ikea and Rockefeller

On the first full day of the United Nations climate conference, global philanthropies have dug deep into their pockets to make a big statement.

The Rockefeller and Ikea foundations announced plans on Monday to establish a Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet, which will allow rich governments – as well as wealthy individuals – to make incremental, efficient contributions to poorer countries’ energy transition.

The organization, which also includes eight multilateral and development-finance institutions, will begin with $10 billion in funding to test strategies and innovative technologies to support renewable energy around the world, particularly in areas where private capital is still hesitant. Once prototypes are proven, it is hoped that they will attract $100 billion in private and public investment to scale them up.

The Bezos Earth Fund has announced a $500 million contribution to the joint initiative. At the same time, it pledged $1 billion for landscape restoration, such as tree planting and grassland revitalization, and an equal amount to transform food systems by making agriculture more productive while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“Even if rich countries reach $100 billion, it is nowhere near the trillions that are required,” said Joseph Curtin, director of Rockefeller’s power and climate team. “We wanted to create the conditions for massive private-sector investment.”

The question of who pays is critical to stepping up efforts to keep temperatures under control. Poor countries say they need funding to increase their carbon-cutting ambitions and invest in new technologies to transition away from fossil fuels. The investment gap is especially pronounced in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, with rich countries investing trillions in recovery while poor countries struggle.

According to an analysis published as part of the Global Energy Alliance’s announcement, energy-poor countries are currently responsible for 24% of global carbon dioxide emissions, and their share of emissions could rise to 76% by 2050 unless they transition away from coal.

Richer countries will meet their $100 billion target in 2023, three years late, according to a report prepared at the request of Cop26 President Alok Sharma. Many developing countries were outraged by the findings, which were released last week. India, the third-largest carbon dioxide emitter after China and the United States, has stated unequivocally that it cannot achieve net-zero emissions without additional assistance.

  • The National News