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Footing the bill: What is Sweden’s ‘fair share’ of global climate finance?

This report asks whether Sweden pays its “fair share” of international climate change finance.

Clarisse Kehler Siebert / Published on 1 July 2013

Kehler Siebert, C. (2013). Footing the bill: What is Sweden’s ‘fair share’ of global climate finance?. Report commissioned and published by Church of Sweden (Svenska kyrkan).

Reaching an answer is more complicated than a simple “no” or “yes”, due in large part to the fact that neither operative concept – “fair share” nor “climate finance” – has been clearly defined.

For purposes of this report, global climate finance describes financial flows from developed to developing countries, for mitigation and adaptation activities in recipient countries, with a focus on public finance. Different formulas are explored to measure a country’s “fair share”; some are tested in the Swedish context and are found to achieve results which vary quite broadly from one another, and importantly, demand significantly more climate finance than is provided today.

A key finding is that there is no objective “fair share” of the climate finance burden. Some formulas might be more likely to be deemed “fair” than others – for example, allocating costs equally among rich and poor countries would be unacceptable to most, while formulas that combine measures of capacity to pay and responsibility for emissions tend to have wider appeal, at least in principle.

The report also finds that at present, there is no straightforward way to calculate what Sweden has provided as climate finance – in large part because there is no clear definition of what “climate finance” includes and excludes, and no central reporting for climate finance. Much of Sweden’s reported climate finance is delivered as part of official development aid (ODA), raising the question of whether Sweden’s climate finance is “new and additional” – a key principle of climate finance. If only commitments above Sweden’s ODA commitments are counted, Sweden provides very little climate finance – but Sweden’s ODA commitments per capita are also among the highest in the world.

The report concludes by noting that even without international agreement on what constitutes a “fair share” of climate finance, or what should count as “climate finance”, Sweden can lead by 1) pursuing clearer reporting of climate finance, 2) clearly defining its own understanding of an ambitious “fair share”, and 3) challenging its EU peers to do the same.

Download the report (PDF, 843kb)

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Topics and subtopics
Climate : Finance / Economy : Finance

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