Wednesday, September 24, 2014

U.N. Climate Summit Falls Short for Marchers, World's Poorest

Activists hold a banner as they lead a march of tens of thousands down 6th Avenue during the People's Climate March through Midtown, New York September 21, 2014. (Credit: Reuters/Adrees Latif)  Click to enlarge.
Leaders at the U.N. climate summit in New York made too few commitments on curbing climate change to meet the demands of the hundreds of thousands of people who flooded streets worldwide on Sunday calling for bold action, civil society groups said.

But they took some heart from the limited pledges made by governments on Tuesday, together with signals that countries are serious about agreeing a new global climate deal next year in Paris, aiming to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius.

For example, several states - including Mexico and South Korea - promised to put money into the fledgling U.N. Green Climate Fund, which is intended to help vulnerable countries adapt to extreme weather and rising seas, and develop cleanly.

According to a tally by aid agency Oxfam, fresh pledges in New York totaled $1.325 billion, with France making the largest contribution of $1 billion over the next four years.

"The cash is starting to land in the Green Climate Fund, albeit at little more than a trickle," said Tim Gore, Oxfam's head of climate policy.  "All eyes are now on those yet to stump up, including the United States, UK, Australia, Canada, Japan and New Zealand, and on the devil in the detail of those pledges made (on Tuesday)."

Developing countries have called for an initial capitalization of the fund of $15 billion, and the U.N.'s top climate official, Christiana Figueres, said it should be at least $10 billion.

The total promised so far to the fund - which will hold its first pledging conference in November ahead of annual U.N. climate talks in Peru - is just over $2.3 billion.

Separately, Norway said it would spend up to $300 million to support a program in Peru to reduce emissions from the destruction of the world's fourth largest tropical forest, and up to $150 million to tackle deforestation caused by logging, agriculture and charcoal production in Liberia.

Meanwhile, the European Union said it aims to allocate more than 3 billion euros ($3.8 billion) in grants to support sustainable energy in developing states over the next seven years.

U.N. Climate Summit Falls Short for Marchers, World's Poorest

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