Overline: Workshop/Call for Papers
Headline: Climate Finance and Investment in Times of Crisis: Towards a New Partnership with the Global South

Rationale: The world is facing overlapping crises of climate change and established forms of international cooperation. In other words, precisely at a time when the mounting threat of climate change would require a deepening of international cooperation, the existing multilateral system has come under increasing strain. A common factor in these interlocking crises is the growing importance of countries in the Global South. Industrialized countries are primarily responsible for the current climate crisis due to historic greenhouse gas emissions. However, due to their economic growth over the past decades, middle and low-income countries now surpass high-income countries in current greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, the Global South is becoming increasingly vocal in articulating its dissatisfaction with the dominance of the US and other Western powers within the international system. The old post-WW2 institutions of international cooperation dominated by Western countries are increasingly ill-equipped and lack the needed legitimacy to respond to the rise of the Global  South. In other words, the world’s most pressing problems can only be confronted by a renewal of international cooperation, that takes into account the changing role of the Global South and the inadequacy of existing institutional arrangements.

Climate Finance is both crucial to managing the climate crisis and one of the defining elements of rising tensions within North-South relations. Industrialized countries have yet to deliver on the promise made to developing countries at the Copenhagen summit to provide USD100 billion of additional funds annually for climate-related investments in the Global South. In particular, the US has failed to provide leadership in climate finance. It has so far only mobilized 4 percent of its “fair share” of about USD 43 billion and has refused to contribute to the first replenishment of the Green  Climate Fund (2020-23). As the US is clearly failing to provide leadership, the EU is only reluctantly willing to step up, reaching only about 70 percent of its fair share of 30 billion. This vacuum of leadership has created a crisis of “hegemonic stability”. The term, coined by Kindleberger (1986),  describes the situation between the World Wars when the UK was unable to underwrite international cooperation while the US was not (yet) willing to provide leadership.

Purpose: The purpose of this workshop is to bring together scholars who work on the topic of climate finance from an international political economy perspective. The proposed workshop will explore the evolution of climate finance within the context of the current vacuum of leadership within the international system. It will shed light on how climate finance is developing within different institutional settings and how it is being shaped by different actors and the interests they bring to bear in the field. In particular, it will focus on climate finance as an arena for contestation and cooperation in the context of North-South relations. The goal of the workshop is to build a network of scholars in the field and discuss possible applications for a research grant on the topic.

Organized by: Thomas Kalinowski and Rainer Quitzow  
Research Institute for Sustainability – Helmholtz Centre Potsdam (RIFS), Potsdam 
Time: Monday February 5th, 2024  
Venue: RIFS Villa, ballroom  

Schedule (preliminary, panel topics will be adjusted according to the submissions):

January 29:

9:30-11 a.m.: Preparation panel via Zoom

February 4:

Arrival of external participants

February 5:

9-9.30  Introduction by Thomas Kalinowski and Rainer Quitzow  
9.30-11Panel 1: Climate finance to the Global South and international organizations
11.15-12.45Panel 2: Climate finance to the Global South and the European Union
12.45-14Lunch, in house
14-15.30Panel 3: Climate finance to the Global South and the private sector
15.45-17.15Panel 4: Climate justice and the Global South
17.15-18Final discussion and future collaborations

More information: