Thursday, December 17, 2009

U.S. says it could help raise $100 billion to fight climate change

U.S. says it could help raise $100 billion to fight climate change

The money would help the world's poorest countries and limit logging, Clinton says. But it's contingent on a broader agreement that is still uncertain.

By Jim Tankersley

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

4:52 AM PST, December 17, 2009

Reporting from Copenhagen

Attempting to revive climate negotiations that appear dangerously close to flat-lining, the Obama administration announced today that it would join allies in raising $100 billion by 2020 to help the world's poorest countries adapt to climate change.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in a press conference here that the unspecified American share of the money would come from public and private sources, would fund measures such as protecting carbon-heavy forests from logging and would be contingent upon nations reaching a broad agreement here that would lay the groundwork for a new treaty to combat global warming.

Echoing the most insistent American demand throughout the talks, she said that agreement must make clear that developing nations such as China and India will limit their greenhouse gas emissions as their economies grow, and that those limits must be subject to some form of outside verification.

"If there is not even a commitment to pursue transparency, that's kind of a deal-breaker for us," Clinton said.

The announcement came after Chinese officials warned other nations during overnight talks that China was doubtful that any broad agreement could be reached in Copenhagen, according to multiple sources close to the Chinese delegation.

Some of those sources said China was backing away from that rhetoric this morning, even before Clinton's funding announcement. In recent days, Chinese officials had cited a lack of long-term financing commitment from the United States and other wealthy nations as a major stumbling block to a deal.

Environmental groups and other nonprofits working closely with the negotiators here said the U.S. announcement --which follows major commitments from Japan, France and other developed nations -- could break what has been a nearly two-week deadlock on key issues.

Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club, called it "truly a bombshell."

Andrew Deutz, director of international government relations for the Nature Conservancy, called it "a huge step forward toward common ground" and "the type of high-level political offer that we've been looking for world leaders to bring to Copenhagen to reach a global deal."

More strident groups said the money fell short.

"Climate change is already killing people in Africa, and this commitment is simply insufficient to tackle the climate crisis," Mithika Mwenda, coordinator of the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance, said in a press release.

Government officials and observers involved with the talks said in recent days that a major U.S. funding announcement could trigger a chain-reaction leading to a broad agreement.

The long-term money offer, those sources said, could win over African and island-nation delegates who have long complained that wealthy nations are not offering deep enough reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

The African and island-nation delegates could then pressure China and India to compromise with the United States on transparency provisions, thereby clearing the two largest hurdles to an accord.

All sides in the negotiations acknowledge that time in running short, with heads of state beginning to arrive en masse today. President Obama lands here early Friday, the day the conference is scheduled to end.


Venceremos Unidos! Education for Liberation!

Peter S. López, Jr. aka~Peta





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