Possible Solutions to Fund Climate Infrastructure

by Charlotte Morrissey

In 2008, during much of the world’s economic struggle, a collection of powerful developed countries agreed to collect $100 billion per year to fund effective solutions to climate change damage in developing countries. Buchner et al. (2015) considered the most effective ways to collect and use this money to its full benefit. The paper cites these possibilities as ways to pay for new infrastructure and services to combat the effects of climate change internationally. They are hoping, as a larger objective, for a clear goal to drive the use of funds collected and increased transparency between those providing the money and those using it. The article begins with a call for more concrete language detailing the uses of this money and how to know if it is making positive change. This must be done to “ensure it supplements and compliments public resources,” and is used efficiently by the communities that receive it.

The authors also point out that many experts believe that over $1 trillion is needed each year to maintain the earth’s current temperature. Fortunately, the price of cleaner energy sources has fallen significantly, allowing them to begin competing with the more accessible and widely used fossil fuels. In 2013, more countries preferred spending money on efforts for their own countries using policies and innovations they understood. This money, coming from both private and public sources domestically and internationally, should be coming from a number of sources, each of which the paper considers. Countries should regulate emissions, charging companies that fail to comply with the limits on carbon use. The authors suggest a system of taxes on carbon-heavy fuels to add incentive for citizens to switch to lower-carbon alternatives. International travel and transactions would also benefit from a tax, since these likely account for much of the carbon emissions and could effectively raise revenue by taxing big companies that import and export frequently. Developed countries would also benefit from selling green bonds allowing investors to put money toward green initiatives with confidence that they will get it back. These solutions, the paper believes, will allow for more revenue directed toward new climate-managing innovations.

Buchner, B., Wilkinson J., 2015. Pros and cons of alternative sources of climate change financing and prospects for ‘unconventional finance’. Towards a Workable and Effective Climate Regime, 483-496.


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