UK pledges to boost climate fund by $2.9b,

Updated: 2012-12-06 02:20

By LAN LAN in Doha, Qatar (China Daily)

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After the United Kingdom made the first move by pledging to boost its climate funds to help developing economies fight climate change, other developed economies have been called on to follow suit swiftly.

Several other countries have shown a willingness and made budget plans to provide funds after a three-year climate change fund runs out at the end of this year, Xie Zhenhua, China's top climate change official told reporters on Wednesday in Doha. Xie didn't give more details.

The UK announced on Wednesday it would boost its climate funding for the next two years to 1.8 billion pounds ($2.9 billion), a 40 percent increase over its contribution to the Fast Start Finance during the 2010-12 period.

Finance is a core issue at the ongoing Doha meeting, and wealthy nations such as the United States have yet to make further commitments.

Under the agreement reached in the Copenhagen talks, developed economies pledged to raise $100 billion a year by 2020. To ensure that, developing countries have proposed a $60 billion midterm target for 2015..

"The midterm finance target is very reasonable. It's understandable that some developed economies are facing financial difficulties and that adds more uncertainty to the funding," Xie said.

Developed economies should clearly state a specific amount for the climate change fund between 2013 and 2015, said Xie.

"The UK has taken the first step, and now we are waiting for other developed countries to quickly follow the suit," said Tracy Carty, climate change policy adviser of the Oxfam Great Britain.

The key is that all developed economies make commitments to ensure that the climate funding begins to increase by next year, Carty said.

Developed economies have told developing economies that they have met $30 billion in Fast Start Finance, but ambiguities still seem to linger.

For instance, a sum of money, listed in a climate finance report released by the United States and calculated as part of the Fast Start Finance provided by the US, was challenged by experts.

The funding, about $100,000, is provided by the US State Department and supports the US-China EcoPartnerships program.

"This funding supports US entities participating in a program that brings together US and Chinese companies, universities, NGOs and state and local governments to address major environmental issues of concern to both countries," said the US climate finance report.

If the money was used to support US entities in a joint program, it shouldn't be calculated as supporting China under the Fast Start Fund, said Zhou Dadi, former director of China's Energy Research Institute under the National Development and Reform Commission.

"By that logic, should we count the money provided by the Chinese government as supporting the US under the Fast Start Fund? There's so much similar US-China cooperation there," said Zhou.

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