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  • 3 min read
  • Published: 10th July 2024

Rich countries doing climate finance “on the cheap”

True value is overstating by up to €82 billion


New analysis by Oxfam shows double duplicity by wealthy countries who pledged nearly €107 billion in climate finance in 2022 to help Global South countries cope with the worsening effects of climate breakdown. 

However, while nearly €85 billion of the reported amount was provided as grants (public finance), nearly 70 percent of this money was in the form of loans. 

Many of these loans require little to no financial effort from rich countries ―they are provided at profitable market rates, all adding to Global South countries’ debt levels. 

Oxfam estimates that the "true value" of climate finance provided by rich countries in 2022 (the last year for which figures are available) is only between €26 billion and €32 billion. (=34,585,600,000 US Dollars). 

Picture of Michael McCarthy-Flynn
“To put this €32 billion into perspective, that’s less than oil and gas corporations make in just six days,”

“Rich countries have been short-changing Global South countries for years by doing climate finance on the cheap. Claims that they are now on track with their financial promises are overstated,” he said. 

“Ireland has done well in terms of quality by providing grant-based climate finance but has a long way to go in terms of quantity. In 2022 we paid €120 when our “fair share”[1] has been estimated as €500 million per year. The Government’s own target was to reach €225 by 2025. We now call on the Government to pay our fair share and for greater transparency in how our contribution is being spent.”

“We believe Irish climate support that reaches communities directly is effective and real. But only 20% of it is being channelled in this direction. 65% goes to large multilateral organisations and international partnerships. We want a greater proportion of the Irish grants going to civil society and overall greater transparency to ensure that Irish climate finance grants are not spent on projects such as a coal plant, a hotel and chocolate shops as credible reports have indicated as happening in other situations,”
— Michael McCarthy-Flynn, Oxfam Ireland’s Head of Policy and Advocacy

Oxfam International’s Climate Change Policy Lead, Nafkote Dab,i deplored the duplicity at the heart of current climate finance reporting: “Low and middle income countries should get most of the money in grants. At the moment they’re being penalized twice. First, by the climate harm they did little to cause, and then by having to pay interest on the loans they’re being given to deal with it.”  

Governments will meet at COP29 in Baku, Azerbaijan, later this year to adopt a new global climate finance deal called the New Collective Quantified Goal. Leaders must not repeat the mistakes of the previous commitment of $100 billion per year but instead ensure that rich countries provide significantly more finance and are made more accountable and their financing more transparent. 

Ireland’s fair share contribution of €500m is based on research from the ODI (2023), as well as from Christian Aid Ireland and Trócaire (2019, 2023) using the Stockholm Environment Institute’s Eco-Equity framework. This estimate is based on key factors including historic greenhouse gas emissions and financial capacity to act. ‘The Cost of Inaction’, Trócaire and Christian Aid Ireland and ‘A Fair Share of Climate Finance’, ODI.  

[1] Ireland's Climate and Environmental Finance Report 2022.  

Oxfam’s estimates are based on original research by INKA Consult and founder of ODAReform.org Steve Cutts using the latest OECD climate-related development finance datasets for 2021 and 2022. Figures are rounded to the nearest 0.5 billion.   

According to the new data from the OECD, rich countries say they mobilized $115.9 billion in climate finance for Global South countries in 2022. Nearly $92 billion of the reported amount was provided as public finance. 69.4 percent of public finance was provided in the form of loans in 2022, 67.7 percent in 2021 and 71.1 percent in 2020.   

According to the IEA, oil and gas exploration and production corporations made $2.4 trillion in net income in 2023. This is equivalent to $6.57 billion a day, or $39.45 billion in six days.  



For further information, contact:

Jacqui Corcoran| Communications & Campaigns Manager| 
+353871952551/ 0872932271

Kate Brayden, Media Officer
kate.brayden@oxfam.org, +353 87 749 7447