Hillary Clinton offers climate aid to poor countries—with
Dec 17, 2009 - Agence France Press
- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton slightly brightened a grim mood at the
U.N. climate talks on Thursday by announcing that the United States would contribute
toward a long-term fund worth $100 billion a year by 2020.
she tied the money to guarantees from China, India, and Brazil—though she didn’t
name them—for ambitious voluntary measures on curbing greenhouse-gas emissions
that would be tied to tough scrutiny provisions.
would be “in the context of a strong accord in which all major economies stand
behind meaningful mitigation actions and provide full transparency as to their
implementation,” Clinton told a press conference. In such circumstances, “the
United States is prepared to work with other countries toward a goal of jointly
mobilizing $100 billion a year by 2020 to address the climate change needs,” she
With that and other recent announcements,
the key issue of climate finance is at last taking shape in the final phase of
the climate talks. Rich countries have coalesced around figures for short- and
long-term financing and for encouraging countries with tropical forests to preserve
these natural assets rather then fell them. If—a big if—the figures are accepted,
hundreds of billions of dollars could be heading towards poorer countries a decade
or two from now, helping them switch to cleaner technology and shore up defences
against worsening floods, drought, storms and rising seas.
groups hailed Clinton’s announcement.
“The U.S. delegation
came to Copenhagen with no money and poor targets, and these talks have gone nowhere,”
said Ricken Patel, executive director of global campaign network Avaaz.org. “Today,
they’ve announced a decent commitment on money. If they move on targets as well,
we could still see a breakthrough in Copenhagen.”
of $100 billion is aligned with figures for long-term funding sketched by the
European Union, which has yet to announce what share it would pay.
an important development and very welcome to have the United States on the same
page as the U.K. and the E.U. in terms of long-term climate finance,” a British
As for short-term finance, $10 billion a year
for 2010-2012 is envisaged as a de-facto sweetener for an overall deal at Copenhagen.
That too is making headway.
Japan on Wednesday said it would
offer $19.5 billion to the three-year scheme, topping an E.U. pledge of $10.6
The United States has said it is ready to pay a “fair
share,” but President Barack Obama—due in Copenhagen on Friday—has not yet announced
In addition, six wealthy countries (Australia,
Britain, France, Japan, Norway, and the United States) announced Wednesday they
had agreed on $3.5 billion to help fight climate change by attacking deforestation,
in a program that would run from 2010-2012.
encouraged that figures are at last being put on the table, but remained cautious
given the many hurdles ahead before the conference’s close. One is whether developing
countries would accept the funding as sufficient and agree to the quid pro quo
on emissions scrutiny. Another is what portion of the funds will come from public
sources or market mechanisms under the future climate treaty—and whether the pledges
entail new money or amount to greenwash, a reshuffling of aid budgets.
funding only flows as part of a global plan agreed to by all to solve this problem,”
noted Carl Pope, executive director the Sierra Club.
dangerous to rely on market forces to pay for flood defenses and drought-resistant
seeds, as there are no guarantees that the money will reach the right people,
in the right places, at right time,” noted Oxfam’s senior climate advisor, Robert