Big ideas but small steps at Climate Finance Summit

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World leaders and finance leaders attend the closing session of the New Global Financial Pact Summit, in Paris on June 23, 2023. (Photo by Lewis Joly / POOL / AFP)

A global climate summit wrapped up Friday with a “consensus” that the international financial system was woefully inadequate in an era of global warming, after taking small steps to help debt-burdened developing nations. While host country France pitched the conference as a consensus-building exercise, leaders were under pressure to produce clear outcomes from the two-day meeting as economies stagger under growing debt after successive crises in recent years.

The summit comes amid growing recognition of the scale of the financial challenges ahead, with warnings that the world’s ability to curb global warming at tolerable levels is reliant on a massive increase in clean energy investment in developing countries.

French President Emmanuel Macron hailed a “complete consensus” to reform global financial institutions and make them “more efficient, fairer and better suited to the world of today”.

Some 40 national leaders gathered in Paris, most from developing countries whose economies have been buffeted by a succession of crises in recent years, including Covid-19, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, soaring inflation and evermore devastating extreme weather impacts.

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