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The Magic Disappearing $100 Billion Climate Fund

Walter Russell Mead

Shocking news—the magic $100 billion climate fund appears not to be taking shape! Even optimistic estimates sat the fund is $40 billion short, and developing countries say that understates the problem. The Financial Times:

Climate ministers from Europe, India, Brazil and South Africa have gone to Beijing in recent weeks, hoping to sustain momentum from the Paris talks despite the Trump administration’s dismantling of US regulations meant to limit American emissions.

But discussions have quickly run up against the issue of financing. “Developed countries have not met their commitments. In their reports a lot of their commitment is in the form of development aid. That doesn’t meet the commitment to contribute to new funds,” China’s top climate change negotiator, Xie Zhenhua, told a briefing on Tuesday. “A lot of countries don’t want to chip in. I said to the European minister: that’s your problem as developed countries. It’s your responsibility to work together and sort it out.”

First world donors have been busily relabeling other foreign aid as contributions to the climate kitty. For developing countries, this is a cheat—they expect $100 billion in new money.

Or, to put it more accurately, they are not nearly stupid and naive enough to believe the lies Western diplomats tell when trying to bamboozle naive green voters at home that they are “Doing Something” about climate change. So they don’t really expect all that money, but hope to use these commitments to pry something out of the West. Also, since the West will certainly default on these bogus commitments, developing countries have all the justification they need to blow off their own commitments when the time comes.

This, one notes, is the house of cards that the last Administration claimed was a big piece of its legacy.

In any case, China, who the clueless Western press has tried to spin as the new hero and leader of the climate movement, is craftily working to widen the north south rift, piously calling on the selfish northern countries to make good on the $100 billion in new money. This failure will, of course, provide China with justification to walk away from any targets it wishes. After all, the West welshed first.

Climate diplomacy has become the leading forum in our time for hypocritical posturing and the politics of pretense. Until the green movement wises up, develops a serious and pragmatic agenda, and pursues a strategically sound political approach, this sorry state of affairs is likely to continue.

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