Climate & Energy Blog

Protect the Green Climate Fund

Posted Dec. 5, 2011 / Posted by: Karen Orenstein

Amid rallying cries of "Amandla! Awetu!" ("Power to the people" in Zulu), we stood in front of a giant octopus with outstretched tentacles. This octopus was greedily trying to suck up the money meant for developing countries. This backdrop framed the platform from which speakers at our rally spoke. We were there to oppose efforts by the US, UK, and Japan to turn the Green Climate Fund into a 'Greedy Corporate Fund.'

We were also protesting the World Bank’s bankrolling of fossil fuels. People from impacted communities addressed the crowd, including activists from an area in South Africa where the World Bank is helping to build the world’s fourth largest coal plant and from an activist from Kosovo trying to fight World Bank plans, backed strongly by the US, to build a dirty coal plant in Kosovo.

The Green Climate Fund was created to support people in developing countries -- people who are the most affected by the climate crisis but are the least responsible for causing it. Given the disastrous impacts we are already seeing in countries in Africa because of the changing climate, this fund is desperately needed. In some countries in Africa, yields from rain-fed agriculture could be reduced by up to 50 percent by 2020 as a result of climate change. This will mean increased hunger and famines across an already food-insecure continent.

But at the UN climate negotiations here in Durban, South Africa, developed countries have been trying to allow multinational corporations and financiers to directly access GCF financing.  Can you imagine? A loan guarantee for a corporation like ExxonMobil to build, for example, a wind farm would count as the US government’s contribution to climate finance!

Led by the US and the UK on behalf of Wall Street and multinational corporations, this attempt to hijack developing countries’ money is outrageous. Communities need this money to address climate change and to finance their own development -- without repeating the same mistakes that the rich countries have made.

To try to stop what could be a train wreck of a fund, 163 organizations from 39 countries signed a letter to UN climate negotiators. We wrote:

“We worry that it [the Green Climate Fund] may be turned into a ‘Greedy Corporate Fund’ serving the interests of the corporate and financial sectors, instead of financing activities to save the planet and protect the poor in developing countries. We are especially concerned with proposals for establishing a private sector facility in the GCF that could allow multinational corporations to directly access GCF financing for activities in developing countries, bypassing those countries’ governments.”

But it’s most definitely not too late to change direction; we can avert a potential disaster. We can create the fund we want to see: a fund based on effectiveness, equity, and environmental integrity. And you can take a small step to help us do that. Tell Chris Huhne, the UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, that the purpose of the Green Climate Fund is to support people in developing countries to fight against climate change and secure their lives and livelihoods. Take action now!

Read a post about the demonstration from Friends of the Earth International

Slideshow of images from the protest

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