(Adds reactions from French foreign minister, development NGO)
By Valerie Volcovici
WASHINGTON, Oct 7 (Reuters) - The world’s richest countries mobilized $61.8 billion in public and private funds in 2014 to help poor countries combat and adapt to climate change, almost two-thirds of a goal to raise $100 billion a year starting in 2020, according to a report released on Wednesday.
The study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the Climate Policy Initiative aimed to provide the first clear snapshot of how far rich countries are from achieving the 2020 target, a key ingredient for a new global climate change deal later this year.
The estimate was based on flows of public-sector climate funds reported to the U.N. climate change secretariat from rich to poor countries through bilateral agreements, multilateral institutions and export credits, and private-sector money.
There has not been a clear system to track climate finance and ensure previous pledges are not double-counted, undermining trust between rich and poor countries in U.N. climate talks.
“This figure and the irreprochable methodology that underpins it is a major step in terms of credibility,” said French Finance Minister Michel Sapin.
Ensuring wealthy countries are on the road to meeting their 2020 commitment, first made in 2009, is seen as crucial to achieving a climate agreement in Paris this December.
Many developing nations have accused rich nations of failing to increase their commitments after an initial $10 billion a year pledged for 2010 to 2012.
“The figures cited are well short of what even the most conservative estimates suggest are needed to help us adapt to increasingly severe climate impacts,” said Amjad Abdulla of the Maldives, chief U.N. negotiator for island states.
The report estimates public and private climate finance mobilized by rich countries averaged $57 billion in 2013-14. Roughly 71 percent came from public funds, 26 percent from the private sector and 3 percent from export credits.
More than two-thirds of the money was allocated to projects aimed at reducing carbon emissions in developing countries, with just 16 percent devoted to helping them cope with climate change impacts like flooding and droughts.
Developing countries have said grant-based finance for adaptation was a priority.
“There is no guarantee for any developing country that they are going to get any kind of reasonable support to cope with a changing climate,” said Tim Gore, head of climate change and food policy for Oxfam International.
Brandon Wu, a senior policy analyst for ActionAid said the OECD estimates counted export credits and the full value of loans to poor countries as climate finance, making the report’s estimates “misleading.”
“The amounts committed to date fall far short of what’s needed, and accounting tricks won’t change that,” he said.
The report will be discussed at a meeting of finance ministers on Friday in Lima, who are expected to use the findings to lay out a climate finance framework ahead of U.N. climate talks in Paris, which start on Nov. 30.
So far, Germany, France and the Asian Development Bank have announced new financial commitments by 2020. Last month the UK announced a new multi-billion pledge between 2016 and 2021 and China said it would offer $3.1 billion. (Reporting By Valerie Volcovici; additional reporting by Michel Rose in Paris and Megan Rowling for the Thomson Reuters Foundation; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Cynthia Osterman)