Raising $100 billion for climate fund in dispute

December 7, 2011 By ARTHUR MAX , Associated Press
In this image made available by Greenpeace, activists form a giant lion's head as they call for on global warming during the second week of the climate conference in Durban, South Africa, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011. The conference is focusing on efforts to move toward a future agreement to legally bind all nations to emissions targets, including China and the United States. (AP Photo/Shayne Robinson, Greenpeace) EDITORIAL USE ONLY NO SALES

(AP) -- Even in hard times, fighting climate change is not a luxury but a necessity, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Wednesday, as climate negotiators bickered about how to raise hundreds of billions of dollars to adapt to a warming world.

Creating a body to govern a $100 billion a year fund is a central issue at the 194-nation U.N. nearing its end in South Africa, but it was unclear whether the final document will mention how the money will be mobilized for the Green Fund.

Ban said Wednesday that while many countries are tightening budgets, contributing money to fight is "an imperative. We have to do it."

A high level advisory group appointed by Ban reported last year that money should flow from governments, and international sources such as a levy on global merchant shipping and aviation.

The fund is earmarked to help poor countries adapt to the severe and to help them reduce emissions in the future. Government leaders approved a $10 billion a year fast-track fund from 2010 to 2012, which is supposed to scale up to $100 billion a year by 2020.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, who co-authored last year's report, said the crisis roiling markets around the world underscored the need to vary the sources of funding.

"It is challenging, but it is feasible to mobilize $100 billion by 2020. But we have to do many different things and look for different sources of finance," Stoltenberg said during a panel discussion that included Ban.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who was Stoltenberg's co-chair, said the current state of the is "irrelevant," and the report commissioned by Ban took into account that governments will face financial constraints.

"The proposal was made on the assumption that major countries don't have money in the treasury," he said.

One proposal would put a price on carbon, either a direct tax broadly on emissions of carbon dioxide or a cap on emissions coupled with trading in emissions allowances.

About 90 percent of funds raised by carbon pricing would go to national coffers, and the remaining to the Green Climate Fund, said Nicholas Stern, who wrote a landmark 700-page report in 2006 on the effect of climate change on the global economy.

A draft decision during closed-door debates says funds should be raised by taxing global shipping, and that the levy should be designed by the International Maritime Organization, the London-based U.N. agency that regulates the merchant marine which carries more than 90 percent of world trade.

The United States is opposing the shipping fund in the document, which is due to be adopted when the conference ends Friday.

Reports that the U.S. was seeking to delete that and other financing clauses prompted criticism from Oxfam.

"Right now we need progress not roadblocks," said David Waskow. "The U.S. actions to throw obstacles in the way of any discussion on sources of finance for the Green Climate Fund risks condemning the Fund to kickoff as an empty shell."

The U.S. says public money should be used to leverage investment funds.

"There is a vastly larger pool of private capital in the world that is potentially available if the right kind of mechanism is put in place" to govern the funds, said U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern. "There should be as much public money as there possibly can, there's no doubt about that."

Explore further: UN panel: New taxes needed for a climate fund


Related Stories

UN panel: New taxes needed for a climate fund

August 5, 2010

(AP) -- British economist Nicholas Stern says a U.N. economic panel is discussing carbon taxes, add-ons to international air fares and a levy on cross-border money transfers as ways to raise $100 billion a year to fight ...

Financing battle emerges at climate change talks

November 29, 2011

(AP) -- International climate negotiators were at odds Tuesday on how to raise billions of dollars to help poor countries cope with global warming. A major shipping group is willing to help, endorsing a proposal for a carbon ...

Shipping industry sees price on carbon emissions

November 29, 2011

The world shipping industry could accept a global levy on carbon emissions from merchant ships under a deal that would also channel proceeds to poor countries, according to an announcement at the UN climate talks on Tuesday.

Cancun delegates debate climate fund: Who pays?

December 8, 2010

(AP) -- Should airline passengers pay a small tax to help out? How about global money dealers? Or perhaps governments should take what they spend subsidizing gasoline prices and put it toward the climate cause.

Climate talks eye revenue from shipping

October 6, 2011

With nations facing gaping shortfalls meeting pledges on climate change, several governments and activist groups are pushing to put a price on shipping emissions to fund aid to poor countries.

Bolivian says climate talks may commit 'ecocide'

December 9, 2010

(AP) -- Bolivia's President Evo Morales, addressing a U.N. climate conference with modest goals, said Thursday that governments will be committing "ecocide" if they fail to act decisively to halt global warming.

Recommended for you

Mysterious deep-Earth seismic signature explained

November 22, 2017

New research on oxygen and iron chemistry under the extreme conditions found deep inside the Earth could explain a longstanding seismic mystery called ultralow velocity zones. Published in Nature, the findings could have ...

Scientists dispute missing dryland forests

November 21, 2017

Scientists are disputing the possibility that a significant portion of the world's forests have been missed in an earlier accounting of ecological diversity.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.