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Saturday, Dec. 12, 2009

Poorest nations seek $200 billion


Staff writer

COPENHAGEN — Developing countries raised the stakes Thursday for any successful outcome of the U.N. climate talks, demanding that the international community provide $200 billion to mitigate global warming in the poorest nations.

They also issued a challenge to U.S. President Barack Obama, who in his acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize spoke in Oslo about climate change as a security issue.

Obama must prove he really deserved the award by agreeing to maintain and enforce the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and its provisions on emissions and paying to combat climate change, rather than creating a new Copenhagen Protocol, something the U.S. and U.N. say is not going to happen, developing countries said.

"We ask President Obama and the U.S. to join the Kyoto Protocol. We should not waste time trying to reinvent what we've already achieved. This is what we expect of him has a Nobel Prize winner," said Lumumba Stanislas Dia Pin, the Sudanese ambassador who represents the Group of 77 developing nations plus China.

"The U.S. is not going to come back to the Kyoto Protocol. That's why we need to establish an inclusive process that also enables the U.S. to come back to the negotiating table and to come back to international climate policy," said Artur Runge-Metzger, chief negotiator of the European Commission, in response to Lumumba's comment.

Yvo de Boer, the top Unite Nations climate negotiator, said it is more likely the Kyoto Protocol will only be extended until a new agreement is finalized, probably sometime next year, and then sent to countries for ratification.

"We'd be working toward a second period under Kyoto, and then a new treaty under the convention. That new treaty would enter into force when enough countries have ratified it," de Boer said.

Lumumba also created a stir when he called on Obama, and the world in general, to provide $200 billion in funding to developing nations for climate change mitigation and adaption.

He said that because the U.S. Congress approves hundreds of billions of dollars for defense, it could work to ensure $200 billion is made available to address climate change.

The $200 billion is a figure various independent think tanks and nongovernmental organizations have said may be necessary by 2020.

Lumumba's statement was partially in reaction to an earlier proposal by billionaire financier George Soros that 15 developed countries that have emergency reserves from the International Monetary Fund agree to provide $100 billion to developing nations for more than 25 years by setting up a special green fund that would be used for projects related to climate change.

But that's far more than what U.N. negotiators are currently discussing, which is an immediate $10 billion a year up until 2012, and then an unspecified amount after that.

While the financial details will have to be left to a followup conference, de Boer said he remains hopeful that world leaders will put a general figure on the table when they arrive next week.

Since the two-week marathon negotiation began Monday, disagreements have ranged from how much developed and developing countries should reduce greenhouse gas emissions and how they should do it, to what temperature increase should be allowed under a new agreement, to how much money was needed to mitigate the effects of climate change.

The initial atmosphere of hope here led U.N. officials to dub the city "Hopenhagen," but by Thursday evening it was being dubbed "Nopenhagen" by some after four days of talks produced no sign of compromise.



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The Japan Times

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