Rebooting a failed promise of climate finance

In the absence of clearly established accounting rules under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), each developed country has been able to decide what it reports as ‘climate finance’3. In November 2020, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a club of mostly rich countries, released a report stating that climate finance reached US$78.9 billion in 2018 (ref. 4). But there is widespread scepticism about these numbers. Previous OECD reports have been poorly received or simply rejected by developing country representatives, charities and academic observers3. The OECD itself acknowledges that “significant inconsistencies in terms of methodologies, categorizations and definitions adopted across countries” exist in developed countries’ official reporting to the UNFCCC4. The resulting multitude of accounting approaches has led to widely contrasting reports on total public climate finance that has been provided annually (Table 1). Statements on private climate

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