Just days away from a historic adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, the plans in place to finance development and low-emissions energy are woefully inadequate. Progress in reforming them have been too little, too late.Growing pressure on public finances, particularly in high-income countries, means states must do all they can to minimize transaction costs, enhance transparency, and apply lessons learned in one setting to others.Private finance is being viewed as the saviour. But is this misplaced? The $100 billion per year promised by developed countries to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) by 2020 to fund climate action in developing countries is to come from “all sources”. But to date, there is little to show.In July, world leaders met in Addis Ababa to agree an “Action Agenda” on financing for development. It names private finance as a vital resource.