An analysis of the causes of the mitigation bias in international climate finance

Original Article


Research on international climate finance got a new impetus from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Cancun Accords in 2010 which pledge to mobilize US dollars (USD) 100 billion in international climate financing annually by 2020. The Accords’ specification that adaptation must be addressed with the same priority as mitigation is not reflected in current patterns of international climate finance where we face a strong bias towards mitigation finance. A recent study by Buchner et al. (2011) ascertains a split between mitigation and adaptation finance of 95:5. In this paper, we investigate potential reasons for this bias. In our framework, we distinguish different decision layers and actors involved in international climate finance in order to categorize the causes responsible for the low priority of adaptation in international finance. The identification of obstacles for international adaptation funding is a first crucial step in the search for ways to overcome respective barriers. We find several different causes of the mitigation bias and these might offer starting points for policies aiming at raising adaptation finance and curing this bias. Furthermore, we describe interrelations between these causes which effective policies have to take into account.


Adaptation Climate agreements Mitigation International transfers 



The work Ibon Galarraga and Dirk Rübbelke devoted to this paper was partly funded under the project “Strategic Challenges in International Climate and Energy Policy (CICEP)” sponsored by the Research Council of Norway. Luis M. Abadie is gratefully for the financial support he received from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luis M. Abadie
    • 1
  • Ibon Galarraga
    • 1
  • Dirk Rübbelke
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3)BilbaoSpain
  2. 2.IKERBASQUE–Basque Foundation for ScienceBilbaoSpain

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