Friday, May 6, 2011

Rich nations miss UN climate finance deadline

Alister Doyle in Reuters: Rich countries have missed a U.N. deadline for outlining aid to help developing nations combat climate change. Among industrialized nations, only Russia and Ukraine sent letters to the United Nations by the May 1 deadline -- only to say they did not feel obliged to contribute under a deal to provide almost $30 billion in initial "fast-start" climate funds from 2010-12.

The lack of response is a setback to the deal, under which aid is meant to rise to $100 billion a year by 2020. "There are too many empty multilateral accounts," said Colin Beck, representative of the Solomon Islands at the United Nations.

"Developed countries continue to teeter in honoring even their modest commitments," said Clifford Polycarp, of the Washington-based World Resources Institute, which tracks climate aid pledges.

At a meeting of almost 200 nations in Cancun, Mexico, in December, industrialized nations agreed to give details of their first fast-start funds by May 2011 as part of a wider deal that included a plan to set up a Green Climate Fund.

The website of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, which oversees commitments, only has letters from Moscow and Kiev. It spells out that it interprets "by May" to mean "by May 1." But deadlines set by U.N. agencies are often flexible and rich nations are expected to submit details soon, Polycarp said.

The cash is meant to help developing nations curb their rising greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change, ranging from more droughts to rising sea levels….

The Fight of the Moneybags and the Coffers, by Pieter van der Heyden, 1558

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