Facebook  Twitter  Youtube  ISSUU  RSS  Email

Media Contacts

UK
Dominic Kavakeb
dominic.kavakeb@transparency.org.uk
+ 44 (0)20 3096 7695
Out of hours: Weekends; Weekdays (17.30-21.30): +44 (0)79 6456 0340


Twitter

TransparencyUK We're hiring for a Director of Fundraising & Communications - an exciting role combining two important functions https://t.co/OqLtNZnzoa
TransparencyUK Immediate release: Sentences in $20m Angolan oil corruption case do not reflect seriousness of the crime… https://t.co/ntOdkD93dF
TransparencyUK RT @FTI_EMEA: Delighted to support @TransparencyUK w/ the launch of their new #antibribery online tool. Visit here - https://t.co/vrzatu9K4

Tag Cloud

Allegations anti-bribery anti-corruption summit anti money laundering bribery BSkyB Cabinet Office Chart companies conflict Corporate Cooperation corrupt capital Corruption corruption in the uk employment film financial secrecy Governance Government health Home Office illicit enrichment intern journalists Letter Leveson Inquiry London Merkel money laundering offshore tax open governance pharmaceuticals PHP Prime Minister Register of Interests Research Resources Social Accountability statement Trustees UK Unexplained Wealth Orders unmask the corrupt UWO vacancies

Stay Informed

Sign up for updates on TI-UK's work & corruption news from around the globe.

Making Climate Money Work

Written by Guest on Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Making Climate Money Work
Guest

The release of our Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) in December last year coincided with a significant event in global politics – the UN climate conference in Qatar. While negotiators quibbled over sums and sources of climate money the index pointed to a worrisome trend. Most of the countries in which these funds are being spent face high levels of perceived public sector corruption.

 


Climate money is like an immunisation and a life jacket rolled into one – intended to help poorer nations beat climate change (mitigation) whilst readying themselves for its effects (adaptation). In recipient countries adaptation money could swing the difference between cyclone-resistant homes and a fatal storm or drinking water and drought. By supporting projects to curb emissions in some of our biggest emerging economies mitigation finance will affect the corruption-resources-corruption-resources-health and safety of all of us, including generations to come.

Among the top 20 recipients of climate funds are Brazil, China, India and South Africa – home to the lion’s share of carbon offsetting projects. Low-lying states such as the Philippines and Vietnam also figure in this list, both of which require urgent investment in climate change-resilient infrastructure. Major recipients Egypt, Morocco and Turkey could soon be home to a solar power boom. Seventeen of these 20 countries score below 40 on the CPI (100 representing very clean and 1 highly corrupt), indicating a serious corruption problem in the public sector.

So what does this tell us about where and how to invest in our climate?

Corruption could divert climate finance, which – on numerous levels – we cannot afford to let happen. But we must not allow the prospect of corruption to do the same.

Anti-Corruption is cheaper than corruption

Countries in receipt of climate finance need and deserve it, so taking it elsewhere is not an option. Instead we need to use these funds to catalyse the reforms that will ensure that climate investment works in the long-term. Because anti-corruption is cheaper than corruption. Often increased spending is needed up-front to implant accountable policies, systems and personnel that will save a lot more money from being lost further down the line.

Take renewable energy in North Africa, for example. Some estimates suggest that solar power from less than 1 per cent of the Sahara Desert could meet all of Europe’s power needs. A recent study by the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis showed that under current conditions US$2 trillion would be needed by 2025 for concentrated solar power production in the region. In an economic climate that posed just 5 per cent less risk of corruption and bureaucratic complexity this figure was projected at US$750 billion. Closing the gap on this 5 per cent margin could be like spending a dollar on a winning lottery ticket.

As for the cost of adapting to climate change, so far only US$1.2 billion has been spent globally. Just one storm – last October’s Hurricane Sandy – cost the United States over 50 times that in damages at an estimated US$63 billion. This illustrates a worrisome disconnect between pro- and retroactive spending, offering stark proof that we need to better invest in preventing climate damage before it occurs. This doesn’t just mean raising homes above sea level or building coastal defence walls. It also includes building strong institutions and cultures of transparency and accountability, and thus political, financial and administrative safety nets against waste and corrupt abuse.

It’s important to state that corruption, like climate change, does not abide borders or the developed-developing divide. Be it allegations of tax evasion in carbon trade in Germany fake solar power projects in Spain or climate influence peddling by oil, gas and coal lobbyists in the US, reports of corruption in a number of industrialised countries have made a case for stronger auditing and accountability at both ends of the climate financing equation.

The time to act is now

These changes are still possible – that’s the good news. Climate finance institutions and systems are young, meaning that installing anti-corruption safeguards need not be complicated. Preventing corruption and fraud in climate finance requires putting secrecy in full view, and trading ambiguity for accountability. This translates to transparent budgets and payrolls, clarity over who makes decisions and why they are made, policies that are receptive to citizen input, and contracting and projects that are independently monitored.

Technical fixes are one thing, the political will to instate them is another. Climate money could be a true game changer. It could finance our transition to green energy, low deforestation and technology to protect us against our increasingly wild climate. It could also strengthen the integrity of our political and financial institutions more broadly.

The key to unlocking these ‘coulds’ lies in governments and companies acting now and decisively to invest in mechanisms that will protect climate finance against possible abuse before it’s too late. This wouldn’t have to cost the earth, but it could help save it.

Read more about Transparency International’s climate work here

5127

Read 5127 times Last modified on Tuesday, 24 November 2015 11:47

Guest

The TI-UK blog features thought and opinion from guest writers as well as TI staff. Any opinions expressed by external contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of Transparency International UK.

Leave a Reply

Contact Us | Sitemap | Privacy

UK Charity Number 1112842

Transparency International UK is a chapter of