Climate Change

John Ashe : How to raise climate funds still uncertain

Bonn UNFCCC conference : the chairman of the AWG-KP asks where is the money

Témoignages.re / 12 April 2010

It was still unclear how the wealthy nations would provide climate funds for developing countries and where the money would come from, though the Copenhagen Accord had pledged the aid, John Ashe, the chair of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) said Friday.

In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, Ashe said the accord proposed the climate financing, which was a "hopeful" start, as it vowed to offer 10 billion U.S. dollars per year to help poor countries combat climate change in the next three years, also known as "the fast-track approach," and to boost the aid to 100 billion dollars annually by 2020.

But the last-minute compromise in Copenhagen summit last year " does not specify the exact means" to guarantee the target, said the chair, who is from Antigua and Barbuda and has been in the position since April 2009.

"What is uncertain is where the money is going to come from," he said. "No one knows about it currently."

The United Nations opened a new session of formal climate change negotiations in Germany’s Bonn Friday, the first round this year, four months after the Copenhagen conference ended with a non- binding agreement.

The Bonn meeting is aimed at drawing up a calendar for the whole 2010 and preparing for an annual ministerial-level meeting in Cancun, Mexico, scheduled from Nov. 29 to Dec. 10, another chance of reaching a legally binding framework.

Alicia Montalvo, Spanish chief negotiator said Friday at the meeting, on behalf of The European Union (EU) that the EU would pay 2.4 billion euros (3.2 billion U.S. dollars) per year from 2010 to 2012 in a common climate fund set for developing countries.

However, she did not elaborate on how the EU would raise the money, what role the European governments and private sections would play, and where the money would flow to, the three main questions raised by analysts and media.

The U.S. government has said that the United States would offer financial aid for poor countries for climate change, but those nations should meet several conditions, such as agreeing "an international supervision" on emission cuts, causing criticisms of lack sincerity from many developing countries.

As for China, the largest and fast growing developing country, Ashe said that Beijing "has a very important role to play" in climate talks. "China has announced what it intended to do regardless of whether or not there is a (global) agreement in future. That is considered as a substantial and good step."

He believed the road to Cancun was "an uphill struggle" and was reluctant to comment on the prospect of this year’s climate negotiations, saying that "We just hope in Cancun we will have something in place, perhaps elements on a legally binding agreement."

The chairman said that the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol is to expire in 2012, it was relatively urgent that all parties should hammer out a new deal in next three years to "make sure there is no gap left."

The 1997 Kyoto Protocol established legally binding obligations for developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, while developing countries may implement national mitigation actions on voluntary basis.

Another session of UN climate talks will also be held in Bonn, headquarters of UN Climate Change Secretariat, from May 31 to June 11.


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