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Financing crucial to next climate change pact: U.N.
Sat Apr 12, 2008 7:04pm EDT
By Louise Egan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The global fight against climate change after the Kyoto pact expires will fail unless rich countries can come up with creative ways to finance clean development by poorer nations, a U.N. official said on Saturday.
"We are not going to see that major developing country engagement unless significant financial resources and technology flows begin to be mobilized," Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said in a media briefing.
De Boer and Katherine Sierra, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development, said they were studying a long list of financing schemes and proposals and were hopeful of meeting an end-2009 deadline.
But they were acutely aware of critics who have expressed fears the World Bank will "hijack" billions of dollars of development aid to tackle climate change.
"The overriding concern of developing countries is economic growth and poverty eradication and you cannot expect developing countries to engage on the question of climate change and harm those overriding objectives," De Boer said.
"At the heart of this is intelligent financial engineering," he said.
World Bank President Robert Zoellick said in a speech on Thursday that "addressing climate change won't work if it is simply seen as a rich man's club."
The first formal talks to draw up a replacement to the Kyoto climate change pact, which ends in 2012, took place in Bangkok earlier this month with plans for another seven rounds of negotiations culminating in Copenhagen at the end of 2009.
U.N. climate experts want the new treaty to go beyond Kyoto by getting all countries to agree to curbs on emissions of the greenhouse gases that are fueling global warming.
Under Kyoto, only 37 rich nations are bound to cut emissions by an average of five percent from 1990 levels by 2012.
But developing countries want firm commitments of aid to meet the new targets that will eventually be set out.
The international carbon market is one source of funding but it is not enough, said De Boer who said he was very interested in a German proposal to auction emission rights and use the proceeds for international aid.
"That is a very interesting way of mobilizing new financial resources that are not related to official development assistance," he said.
The World Bank is developing a new strategy on climate change that includes embedding climate change into its existing programs to help countries boost their economies and combat poverty, said Sierra.
She said the bank would meet with donors over the next several days to discuss its proposals, including a $5-10 billion Clean Technology Fund, a $500 million "adaptation" fund and possibly a third fund dealing with forestry.
Zoellick said the needs of developing nations in climate change will be the subject of a Sunday meeting of World Bank officials and ministers from rich and poor countries.
(Reporting by Louise Egan, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)
World Bank accused of climate change "hijack"
Fri Apr 4, 2008 5:26am EDT
By Ed Cropley
BANGKOK (Reuters) - Developing countries and environmental groups accused the World Bank on Friday of trying to seize control of the billions of dollars of aid that will be used to tackle climate change in the next four decades.
"The World Bank's foray into climate change has gone down like a lead balloon," Friends of the Earth campaigner Tom Picken said at the end of a major climate change conference in the Thai capital.
"Many countries and civil society have expressed outrage at the World Bank's attempted hijacking of real efforts to fund climate change efforts," he said.
Before they agree to any sort of restrictions on emissions of the greenhouse gases fuelling global warming, poor countries want firm commitments of billions of dollars in aid from their rich counterparts.
The money will be used for everything from flood barriers against rising sea levels to "clean" but costly power stations, an example of the "technology transfer" developing countries say they need to curb emissions of gases such as carbon dioxide.
As well as the obvious arguments about how much money will be needed -- some estimates run into the trillions of dollars by 2050 -- rich and poor countries are struggling even to agree on a bank manager.
At the week-long Bangkok conference, the World Bank pushed its proposals for a $5-10 billion Clean Technology Fund, a $500 million "adaptation" fund and possibly a third fund dealing with forestry.
However, developing countries want climate change cash to be administered through the existing United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), which they feel is much less under the control of the Group of 8 (G8) richest countries.
"Generally we have been unpleasantly surprised by the funds," said Ana Maria Kleymeyer, Argentina's lead negotiator at the meeting.
"This is a way for the World Bank and its donor members to get credit back home for putting money into climate change in a way that's not transparent, that doesn't involve developing countries and that ignores the UNFCC process," she said.
[NO, MS. KLEYMEYER: IT IS A WAY TO HOLD CORRUPT GOVERNMENTS LIKE YOURS ACCOUNTABLE FOR HOW THEY SPEND THE MONEY!!]
(Editing by Michael Battye and Alex Richardson)