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Green Climate Fund Asks Wealthy Countries to Dig Deeper

Lucile Dufour, international policy adviser with Climate Action Network France, said the GCF replenishment was happening “at a crucial point

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Demonstrators take part in a protest against climate change called by Greenpeace activists ahead of the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Santiago, Chile, Oct. 17, 2019. The placard reads: "These are the sacrificed, end to the coal now." VOA

The Green Climate Fund, one of the main sources of finance for developing nations to tackle climate change, is hoping wealthy countries will pledge between $9 billion and $10 billion to refill its coffers at a conference in Paris Friday.

Climate finance analysts said the outcome would be key to building trust with poorer states preparing more ambitious climate action plans, which are to be submitted to the United Nations by the end of 2020.

Environment and development groups are calling for at least $15 billion in new commitments for the Green Climate Fund (GCF), saying projects that may use up close to that amount are already in the pipeline, with needs only increasing as the planet warms.

A matter of survival

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Climate finance analysts said the outcome would be key to building trust with poorer states preparing more ambitious climate action plans, which are to be submitted to the United Nations. Pixabay

Lucile Dufour, international policy adviser with Climate Action Network France, said the GCF replenishment was happening “at a crucial point in the fight against climate change,” and called on donors to double their contributions at a minimum.

“This is a matter of justice and survival for developing countries and the most vulnerable communities,” she told journalists, noting the devastation from increasingly wild weather around the world.

The fund’s executive director, Yannick Glemarec, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that this week’s meeting would be a “success” if pledges exceeded the $9.3 billion garnered at its first conference in 2014.

Since late last year the fund has secured pledges of about $7.4 billion from 16 countries for 2020-2023, with large donors like Germany, France and Britain doubling 2014 contributions.

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New announcements from some other potentially large donors are expected to raise that figure Friday, including Japan, Italy, Switzerland, Finland and Belgium.

“It is not easy right now for any kind of financial contributors to dramatically increase their contribution because most of them are facing real budgetary constraints,” Glemarec said, noting some “exceptional efforts” to double donations.

US won’t deliver pledge

Despite total promises of just more than $10 billion for the fund’s first five years, U.S. President Donald Trump, a climate-change sceptic, refused to deliver two-thirds of his country’s $3 billion pledge.

Climate, Fund, Wealthy
Environment and development groups are calling for at least $15 billion in new commitments for the Green Climate Fund (GCF), saying projects that may use up close to that amount are already. Pixabay

Currency fluctuations meanwhile further cut the actual total available to the fund, to about $7.2 billion.

Glemarec and others expressed hope the United States could “re-engage” with the fund in coming years.

Joe Thwaites, a climate finance researcher with Washington-based World Resources Institute, said domestic politics meant it was “disappointing but not surprising” that the United States and Australia had indicated they would not contribute now.

He also urged some countries whose new pledges were flat or up slightly, like Canada and the Netherlands, to give more.

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A report from the U.N. climate science panel showed last year that climate action financing, both from governments and business, had so far been inadequate, Thwaites said.

“There is a very clear sense that we need to see major increases and particularly for adaptation, where the needs are only going to rise.”

More for the poorest?

The GCF has allocated about $5.2 billion to 111 projects in 99 countries ranging from green, low-cost housing in Mongolia’s polluted capital and a rapid-transit bus system in Karachi using methane to restoring climate-threatened ecosystems in Namibia.

It expects to have parcelled out the rest of its initial pot by the end of 2019, Glemarec said, adding he hoped it would be able to grow its project pipeline in the future.

Aid agencies praise the fund’s push to divide its money between projects to reduce planet-warming emissions and efforts to adapt to climate shifts and rising seas, as adaptation has received only about a fifth of global climate finance until now.

Glemarec said that since 2015 nearly 70% of the $1.9 billion the fund had allocated for adaptation was for projects in the most vulnerable poor countries, African nations and small island states, stressing the aim was to maintain or raise that share.

Liane Schalatek, associate director at the Heinrich Böll Foundation North America and civil society observer at the GCF, said it should increasingly work with approved ministries and agencies in developing states to reach local communities.

“There needs to be a focus on the poorest and most disenfranchised people who are usually not given voice and much opportunity to participate in or benefit from decision-making on climate change,” she said. (VOA)

Next Story

Fastest Growing Jobs in America Continue To Shrink for The Middle Class

It is likely there will always be demand for service work, jobs that often serve to emphasize the divide between the haves and the have-nots

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Jobs do offer a foothold in America for new immigrants. One-third of the American workforce is currently involved in the so-called gig economy, about 10% of them full time. Pixabay

America’s affluent class is bigger than ever, with more disposable income to treat itself to indulgences in Jobs like massages, manicures, pedicures, and personal trainers.

While jobs for middle class Americans continue to shrink, work positions are growing at the top and the bottom of the payscale. Laborers in the emerging underclass who cater to the whims of the better-off are sometimes referred to as “wealth workers.

“There are more people at the top with the wherewithal to purchase services,” says Mark Muro, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute. “Not only are there more rich people, but there are more people who are doing fairly well, and all of them are willing to pay for these services, whether it’s yoga instructors or dog walking or task running. And there are more people than ever in the lower third of the distribution that really need this sort of work.”

Wealth workers are more likely to be women and Latino. These are often people without a college degree who might be working multiple jobs providing services to people who are financially better off than they are.

“What we don’t have a lot of in the country is middle-wage income … work that we might say was traditionally more solid or dignified,” Muro says.

Jobs
America’s affluent class is bigger than ever, with more disposable income to treat itself to indulgences in Jobs like massages, manicures, pedicures, and personal trainers.  Pixabay

Personal care and services occupations are the fastest growing segment of the job market for non-college-educated workers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. These jobs are expected to grow 17% in the next decade, resulting in more than 1 million new jobs.

The number of manicurists and pedicurists doubled between 2010 and 2017, according to the Brookings Institute. And fitness trainers and dog walkers increased at up to three times the rate of overall employment.

Muro says at least 3 million people in the United States currently rely on this type of work.

“Our concern is not so much that the jobs exist, but that because of the way we structure work in America, they’re not particularly good jobs. They really don’t pay that well,” he says.

These workers are among the most vulnerable to exploitation by their employers, and rarely enjoy benefits like sick leave, vacation packages, pensions or retirement.

But the jobs do offer a foothold in America for new immigrants. One-third of the American workforce is currently involved in the so-called gig economy, about 10% of them full time. The rest are part time, picking up gigs — such as driving for the Uber car service — to supplement income from another job.

“I think it’s good for the economy because these are people who need those jobs and demand is the greatest source of labor power for working people,” says Louis Hyman, director of the Institute for Workplace Studies at Cornell University. “The question is not how do we get rid of the gig economy, but how do we marry that with security? And it’s not just a question for gig workers, but for all low-wage workers in America.”

Hyman says one answer to the problem could be to set up a system of portable benefits.

Jobs
While Jobs for middle class Americans continue to shrink, work positions are growing at the top and the bottom of the payscale. Pixabay

“Every time there is a transaction, every time somebody comes to your door and delivers something to you, a dollar goes into their retirement account and a dollar goes into their health care fund,” Hyman says. “We make it easy for freelancers to have these kinds of transactions.”

It is likely there will always be demand for service work, jobs that often serve to emphasize the divide between the haves and the have-nots.

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“I don’t think that’s a particularly attractive structure for society,” Muro says. “I think it will produce a lot of dissatisfaction and frustration among the bottom half. So I don’t think, as a whole, it’s a very healthy state of affairs … let’s ensure that these are dignified jobs.” (VOA)