Your cheque is in the mail
In 2001 at a meeting in Bonn representatives from 20 developed countries -- 15 from the EU and five others, not including the U.S. -- agreed to kick in somewhere between US$1.6 billion and $2.87 billion in climate change funds to be funneled to developing countries through the United Nations. The UN has apparently just noticed that it received only $260 million of the money as of 2008, when the program was set for review.
The EU now says that it never intended that all of the money was to go via the UN and that contrary to appearances all of the money was delivered as promised, most of it through non-UN routes. There is just one minor catch, however:
Artur Runge-Metzger, the senior climate change negotiator for the European Union, maintains the EU has lived up to its end of the bargain.
"We can say we met the promise, climate finance has really been stepped up," he argues.
However he admits the EU cannot provide data to show it did pay the money through these bilateral and multilateral means.
"It's sometimes very hard to say what is the climate bit of this financing," he says.
So the money is out there, it's just that no one knows exactly where. Now doesn't this just fill you with confidence that the hundreds of billions of dollars developed countries are expected to promise developing countries at the Copenhagen conference will be spent wisely? I for one am fully confident that funneling tax dollars through the faceless government bureaucracy into the grand UN bureaucracy and onto the notoriously efficient bureaucracies of the developing world is a wise and efficient way to distribute billions. This climate change crisis everyone is talking about is going to be solved in no time at all. I mean, the UN has an outstanding problem-fixing track record (sorting out that little problem with malaria killing millions and that little mess in the Congo, for example), so temperatures should start falling straight away, the world's glaciers, ice caps and pack ice quickly returning to their pre-warming robust glory and sea level dropping back to normal. Polar bears will be delighted.
By the way, I am a representative of a Nigerian bank with access to US$15 million in unclaimed funds sitting in an inactive account. I cannot take this money out of the country myself but if you send me $1,000 to cover costs and your bank account details (don't forget to send your account number and password) I will transfer the money to you and we can go halves.
That latter story is actually more believable than the former.