Climate change funds available to businesses

There are many international funding sources that businesses can tap to build resilience to the impacts of climate change but which are not adequately made use of, according to Attorney-at-Law Lalanath de Silva, a public interest litigator in the area of environment.

The impacts of climate change are already being felt with regular cycles of floods and drought that are increasing in frequency and intensity, he said.The highest losses will be from floods, followed by cyclones and high winds, drought and landslides, according to World Bank studies. The 2016 floods and landslides caused damage that was more than twice that of the worst floods between 1992 and 2011.

It is of utmost importance for Sri Lanka to build physical and financial resilience to deal with the impact of disasters, De Silva told the CEO Forum of the Biodiversity Sri Lanka (BSL) on ‘Climate Change Challenges and Solutions for Sri Lankan Businesses’ recently.

BSL is a private sector-led, member-driven platform which aims to encourage increased involvement of the corporate sector in biodiversity and environmental conservation and was initiated by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Dilmah Conservation.

 “We as an island are more vulnerable to climate change than others,” De Silva said. “We need to prioritize and concentrate on climate change adaptation and get funds that are becoming available to nations and businesses. We need to mobilize financial support from all quarters,” he said. “There are many multilateral agencies which provide funds. Multilateral development banks have climate finance available to businesses in developing countries. Sri Lanka is not doing enough to tap into these funds.”

Funds were available for the private sector under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Green Climate Fund (GCF), Climate Investment Funds and the CDM facility.“Most businesses don’t know about them,” De Silva said.

The Green Climate Fund, headquartered in South Korea, where De Silva works, invests in low-emission and climate-resilient development to help vulnerable societies adapt to the impacts of climate change. It has raised $10 billion to invest in developing countries which need to adapt to climate change. “It gives mostly grants to developing country governments and also very low cost loans and equity investments,” he said.

The $8 billion Climate Investment Funds (CIF), supported by the World Bank, provides low-cost, long-term funds for clean technology, energy access, climate resilience, and sustainable forests in developing and middle income countries.

The Netherlands CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) Facility was set up to purchase greenhouse gas emission reduction credits. It supports projects in developing countries that generate potential credits under the CDM established by the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. These include renewable energy technology, such as wind, solar, and small-scale hydro-power, clean, ustainably grown biomass, energy efficiency improvement, and fossil fuel switch and methane recovery and carbon sequestration.