By Valerie Volcovici
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The world’s richest countries spurred $61.8 billion in public and private funds in 2014 to help poor countries combat and adapt to climate change, nearly two-thirds of a key international goal to raise $100 billion a year starting in 2020, according to a report released on Wednesday.
The study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and the Climate Policy Initiative aimed to provide the first clear snapshot of how far rich countries are from achieving the 2020 target, a key ingredient for a new global climate change deal later this year.
The estimate was based on flows of public-sector climate funds reported to the U.N. climate change secretariat from rich to poor countries through bilateral agreements, multilateral institutions and export credits, and private-sector money.
There has not been a clear system to track the volume of climate finance available for poor nations and ensure previous pledges are not double-counted, a factor that has undermined trust between rich and poor countries in U.N. climate talks.
“This is a step in terms of building confidence,” said Simon Buckle, head of the OECD’s climate change division.
Ensuring wealthy countries are on the road to meeting their 2020 commitment, which was first made at a 2009 U.N. conference, is seen as crucial to a final climate agreement.
Many developing nations have accused rich nations of failing to raise climate finance towards the 2020 goal after an initial $10 billion a year pledged for 2010 to 2012.
So far, Germany, France and the Asian Development Bank have announced new financial commitments by 2020. Last month the UK announced a new multi-billion pledge between 2016 and 2021 and China announced it would offer $3.1 billion.
“Climate finance is not only needed to realize climate solutions, it is essential to restoring the trust needed for a successful outcome in Paris," said Thoriq Ibrahim, environment minister of the Maldives.
The report estimates public and private climate finance mobilized by rich countries averaged $57 billion annually in 2013-14. Roughly 71 percent came from public funds, 26 percent from the private sector and 3 percent from export credits.
More than two-thirds of the money was allocated to projects aimed at reducing carbon emissions in developing countries with just 16 percent devoted to helping them build infrastructure to cope with climate change impacts, such as flooding and droughts.
Many developing countries have said grant-based finance for adaptation was a priority.
“There is no guarantee for any developing country that they are going to get any kind of reasonable support to cope with a changing climate," said Tim Gore, head of climate change and food policy for Oxfam International.
The report will be discussed at a meeting of finance ministers on Oct. 9 in Lima, who are expected to use the findings to lay out a climate finance framework ahead of U.N. climate talks in Paris, which start on Nov. 30.
(Reporting By Valerie Volcovici; additional reporting by Megan Rowling for the Thomson Reuters Foundation; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)