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Government allocated more than $144 million to international organizations for climate change programs

The federal government has given over $144 million to international organizations, including the United Nations, for the “purpose of fighting climate change” since 2017.

“Canada’s International Climate Finance Program aims to support low and middle-income countries already affected by climate change in their transition to sustainable, low-carbon, climate-resilient, nature-positive and inclusive development,” states part of Environment and Climate Change Canada’s (ECCC) Jan. 29 response to Conservative MP Cheryl Gallant’s Inquiry of Ministry.

On Dec. 1, Ms. Gallant asked the ECCC what the funding provided by the government to the United Nations and other international organizations for climate-related efforts has been since Jan. 1, 2016. She specified that she wanted information on the total amount given, broken down by date, recipient, purpose, and what had been done “to ensure the money was spent appropriately.”

The ECCC data shows that a total of $144,779,591 has been spent from the 2017/2018 fiscal year, when the funding began, to the present day. The largest payout was $44,077,498 in the 2022/2023 fiscal year.

Notable expenditures include $11 million given to the World Bank in 2023, and two separate payments to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), both of just over $13 million in 2020 and 2017.

The money going to the World Bank was for its Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP).

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ESMAP is an international program with the aim of providing expertise and support to help low- and middle-income nations build their capabilities and pursue “environmentally sustainable energy solutions” that support economic expansion and reduce poverty.

“UNEP is driving transformational change by drilling down on the root causes of the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss and pollution,” states UNEP’s website.

According to the ECCC, to track the effectiveness of its funding in alignment with its objectives, it assesses outcomes based on three principal metrics: the reduction or prevention of greenhouse gas emissions measured in megatonnes due to their international financial initiatives, the count of individuals in developing nations who have gained from Canada’s climate adaptation financing, and the amount of private investment that has been stimulated by public sector monetary contributions.

In 2016, the Paris Agreement, a legally binding global treaty, was adopted by 194 countries including Canada, along with the European Union, to “substantially reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.” Following this accord, there was a marked surge in investment for climate-focused initiatives.
According to the Climate Policy Initiative, an advisory non-profit organization, governments around the world allocated an annual average of $1.3 trillion to climate-related efforts and adaptation projects in 2021 and 2022. This figure represents a substantial increase, more than doubling the annual investment of $653 billion recorded in 2019 and 2020, and far exceeding the $364 billion average in 2011 and 2012 as noted in their report.

Despite this influx of funding, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has identified 2023 as the warmest year since records began. Data from NOAA indicates that the combined global land and ocean surface temperature for 2023 exceeded the pre-industrial era average by 1.35 degrees Celsius.

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