Wednesday, 9 December 2009

US will contribute to Copenhagen launch fund, says climate change envoy

The United States now joins Britain and France in backing a global fund that will provide millions of dollars to poor countries to help them reduce the output of greenhouse gases linked to climate change.
Like France, the U.S has not put any dollar figure to the proposed Copenhagen Launch Fund, announced last week by British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. U.S special envoy on climate change, Dr Jonathan Pershing said President Barack Obama has mobilised a number of world leaders to pour money into the fund.
“There appears to be an emerging consensus that a core element of the Copenhagen accord should be to mobilise $10 billion a year by 2012 to support adaptation and mitigation in d
 eveloping countries, particularly the most vulnerable and least developed countries that could be stabilised by the impacts of climate change.
“The United States will pay its fair share of the amount and welcomes statements by other countries which intend to make substantial commitments as well, said Dr Pershing (pictured).
The special envoy, who is here in Copenhagen as the alternate head of delegation for the U.S Government, urged other rich and powerful nations to support this global fund.“It’s not only a humanitarian imperative, it is part of a development accord that invests in our common security and the global economy."

To date, only Britain has committed 800 million pounds (US$1.3 billion) to this special fund.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the wealthiest nations should set aside the money as part of a climate agreement.
"We have got to provide some money to help that," Prime Minister Brown said. "Britain will do so, the rest of Europe will do so and I believe America will do so as well."
Financing to assist developing countries is one of the key areas of debate here at Copenhagen, where 80 world leaders have so far agreed to attend.
U.S President, Barack Obama is expected to address the international climate change conference on December 18, the last day of the climate change talks.
Last week, the U.S announced that it was prepared to put on the table an emissions reduction target in the range of 17 percent below 2005 levels in 2020.
“In line with the President’s goal to reduce emissions to 83 percent by 2050, this pending legislation would put us on a pathway toward a 30 percent emissions reduction by 2025 and a 42 percent reduction in 2030.
But the Alliance of Small Islands States (AOSIS), this commitment is not enough.
AOSIS wants Annex 1 parties to reduce emissions by more than 45 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and 95 percent by 2050.
Yves de Boer, the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change said the European Union and China feels that the United States can still improve its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.
“For the Alliance of Small Islands States and Least Developed Countries, the U.S announcement is still not good enough.
“This is where the deadlock lies. We hope that when they sit across the table to discuss this controversial issue that they will come to some understanding on what is the most realistic emission reduction target.
“We are moving to an 80 percent reduction, which is what the science has called for. The science suggests that if you do that, you’d be on a trajectory to prevent the kinds of damages that this conference is working to avoid,
said Dr Pershing.
He said the United States doesn’t see a legal treaty coming out of Copenhagen but a political arrangement.
The U.S. also wants other countries, mainly China and India, to commit on when their greenhouse-gas emissions will peak, and will demand stringent standards for reporting, monitoring and verification of emissions and reductions.
“We see it beginning with a political deal that would be operational that would move elements and activities forward immediately and that would be followed by negotiations of a legal arrangement.
“And we believe we could be party to that legal arrangement.
China has pledged to curb carbon emissions as a percentage of gross domestic product by 40 to 45 percent by 2020. These would be voluntary cuts and therefore unlikely to be part of a binding climate-change pact.

Makereta Komai
Climate Pasifika

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