Hillary Clinton tries to resurrect climate talks with $100 bn offer

Hillary Clinton tries to resurrect climate talks with $100 bn offerCopenhagen, Dec 17 : US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton Thursday tried to resurrect the Copenhagen climate summit by promising to mobilise $100 billion a year by 2020 to help poor countries cope with the effects of global warming.

Without going into details, Clinton said at a crowded press conference that the money would be "mobilised from private and public sources" and would "include bilateral and multilateral" projects, with a "focus on forestry and adaptation" to climate change effects.

She also said the financing would be targeted at the "poorest and most vulnerable countries".

Lack of financial commitments from the rich countries to help poor nations cope with climate change has been one of the two major roadblocks at this summit. Poor countries feel they must be compensated for having to deal with a problem created by rich countries when they added to the atmosphere greenhouse gases - mainly carbon dioxide - that are leading to global warming.

While Clinton's announcement was welcomed by green NGOs, delegates from developing countries were more sceptical. A delegate from Bangladesh told IANS: "We would like to be assured that this is not a way to recount existing aid."

David Waskow, spokesperson for Oxfam International, said: "We are heartened by Clinton's commitment to significant financial resources of $100 billion a year by 2020 overall to help developing countries weather the negative impacts of climate change.

"Support for poor countries cannot be left to the whims of the markets. It is absolutely crucial that this money comes from public sources and is additional to current aid commitments.

"If new and guaranteed climate finance is put on the table, it will help move these fracturing talks closer to a global deal on climate change."

Carl Pope, Sierra Club Executive Director, said: "Clinton's announcement of $100 billion in international climate financing by 2020 is truly a bombshell. It is a very important step toward resolving both the impasse on the finance issue, as well as concluding a final political agreement here in Copenhagen.

"This funding will help the least developed and most vulnerable countries move toward a clean energy future and adapt to the effects of global warming that are already occurring. This money will help also protect tropical rain forests as well as deal with natural disasters produced by unstable climate."

Pope said half the money could be found by eliminating subsidies to the oil and coal companies in the industrial world. "The world wastes some $300 billion a year in fossil fuel subsidies -- $60 billion of which is spent in OECD countries."

Martin Kaiser, Greenpeace International Climate Policy Adviser, said: "For the first time the US has publicly stated support for a long-term global funding for developing world adaptation and mitigation to climate change. Citing a figure of $100 billion per year by 2020 Clinton has signalled that the US position on climate can be moved.

"However, Clinton failed to provided specifics on how much the US would contribute to this fund." (IANS)