Saturday, October 25, 2014

Fight over $100 Billion Aid Stalls Global Warming Deal

Food aid is distributed during a drought in Zimbabwe by Aktion Deutschland Hilft, 2007 (Credit: World Vision) Click to enlarge.
A dispute about how to link greenhouse-gas emissions cuts to a promise from the wealthiest nations for $100 billion a year in climate aid emerged as a major stumbling block at UN talks on global warming.

After a week of discussions in Bonn, envoys from some 190 nations deadlocked about the formula countries will use in setting out their commitments on reducing fossil-fuel pollution in time for the deal they plan to sign in Paris in 2015.

That means higher-level officials will have to deal with the issue when they meet in Peru in December.  The exact way in which those pledges are put on the table is the cornerstone of the pact that the United Nations is promoting as a replacement for the Kyoto Protocol, whose limits on emissions in richer countries lapse in 2020.

At the core of the matter is a promise that U.S. President Barack Obama, the European Union and other industrial nations made in 2009 to raise the value of aid for climate-related projects to $100 billion a year by the end of this decade.  Developing countries would get the money in exchange for cutting emissions -- and opening their industries to scrutiny.

The pledges being devised are for the period after 2020, and developing countries want industrialized nations to indicate how much climate aid they’ll incorporate into the promises.  At the same time, they’re seeking more clarity on how aid will ramp up to $100 billion in 2020.

“There has to be some collective signal from the developed countries that the direction of climate finance will be upwards and not fall off a cliff,” said Alden Meyer, a policy specialist at the Union of Concerned Scientists who has followed the talks for two decades.  “You need more clarity on post-2020 finance if you want to get an agreement in Paris.”

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