Germany’s Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze and Federal Development Minister Gerd Müller announced that they were doubling the country’s pledge of 1.5 euros for the Green Climate Fund (GCF). Müller emphasised that combating climate change represented a question of survival for humanity, and that this year’s climate conference had to bring about a change in trend. “We have to implement the provisions of the Paris Agreement in a consistent and binding manner, and beyond this, we must invest in international climate protection,” he stated. “For the poorest countries are affected most by the impacts of climate change.”
The GCF has a total of 7.3 billion US dollars. The Fund has already supported 93 projects. Numerous further project proposals have been submitted, although owing to a scarcity of finance, it will no longer be possible to approve support for new projects as of mid-2019. This is why a refill of the Fund’s dwindling coffers was recently resolved.
As the German Federal Government announced in Katowice, Germany is the first country to have stated a concrete sum for the refurbishment of the Fund. The GCF supports mitigation and adaptation measures in developing and emerging countries, such as the introduction of renewable energies on a large scale, the implementation of climate-friendly mobility concepts and the setting up of early warning systems for extreme weather conditions. Special emphasis is placed on supporting the Lowest Developed Countries (LDCs), small island states and African countries.
Germany’s step is intended to set an example for others, for as of 2020, the international community seeks to provide an annual 100 billion US dollars for climate adaptation in the Global South.
For example, the GCF envisages involving private capital for risk insurances and to back projects. Companies could support the activities of local non-governmental organisations with compensation certificates.
One successful measure is the “Primaklima” project in Nicaragua. It supports the afforestation efforts of the Nicaraguan community of San Juan de Lima. According to the “Prima Klima” organisation, around half of Nicaragua’s rainforest was cleared for cotton-growing in the 1950s. Soil erosion and the excessive application of herbicides have severely harmed the environment. Recently introduced pastoralism is untypical for the region and has prevented a reforestation, the organisation claims.
However, experts maintain that reforestation is needed to enhance the soil’s water retention capacity, which would make it easier to cope with dry periods. But afforestation is not attractive for the farmers since it takes much longer before a forest can be used than a pasture. Farmers therefore receive an ecosystem dividend for the first ten years to compensate for yield loss. Later on, they are to make a living with sustainable forestry.