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The European Commission’s lead climate negotiator at United Nations treaty talks in Doha said it’s likely to take at least a year for the Green Climate Fund to become operational.
The governing body of the fund set up last year still must set out rules for receiving and paying out money, decide what sort of projects will be eligible, and how developing nations can apply for money, said the diplomat, Artur Runge-Metzger.
“There are a zillion things that need to be decided,” Runge-Metzger said in an interview in Doha where two weeks of UN climate talks are under way. “Negotiations will go on for I think another year before we will see the GCF firmly established. Realistically that is the case. The end of 2013 or beginning of 2014. That still puts it on a very tight timetable.”
Finance is a cornerstone of the UN treaty talks, with the Green Climate Fund intended to channel an undisclosed portion of $100 billion in annual aid that developed nations have pledged to provide by 2020. The funds are for projects that cut emissions and protect against the effects of climate change in developing nations.
“Finance is critical because it incentivises action in developing countries,” Selwin Hart, an envoy from Barbados who negotiates for the 43-nation Alliance of Small Island States, said in an interview today in Doha. “It also assists the poorest and most vulnerable developing countries to cope with increasing impacts associated with climate change.”
Hart said the G77 group of about 130 developing nations and China is working on a proposal that will call on industrialized nations to double climate aid. They want $60 billion for the three years through 2015, up from $30 billion in the three years ending in 2012. Environmental groups such as Conservation International and Greenpeace echoed that demand.
“It’s not an unreasonable request,” said Hart. “All that we’re calling for is how developed countries intend to scale up from fast start levels to the $100 billion they pledged.”
Runge-Metzger said the European Commission is working on 300-million euros ($390 million) to 500 million euros of financing for projects next year, and that member states such as Germany, France, the U.K., the Netherlands and Nordic countries may make pledges in Doha.
“We are going to give significant reassurances to developing coutries that we are not going into some kind of climate finance cliff,” Runge-Metzger said. Still, “some member states are in very difficult situations with their public finances and it will be very difficult.”
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