November 29, 2009

French, British Premiers Push Climate Change Fund

On Friday, French and British premiers Nicolas Sarkozy and Gordon Brown gave their thumbs up to a global program that would provide the world's poorest nations with billions of dollars in aid to help them reduce their carbon emissions. 

Both European leaders say that donations from the wealthiest nations to less developed countries should be an integral part of the new climate treaty which U.N. leaders hope to stitch together in Copenhagen next month.

At a heads of state meeting in Trinidad, Sarkozy told the press that the developed nations should pool resources to provide $10 billion a year for the next three years to assist the world's most impoverished countries in their efforts to fight carbon emission and deforestation "” both considered by U.N. leaders to be key factors in climate change.  The French president also suggested the establishment of a global central authority on climate change that would be responsible for monitoring and orchestrating efforts to curb climate change.

"We can no longer afford to be unambitious," he said. "What is at stake here is the future of our planet."

British Prime Minister Brown similarly called for a "Copenhagen launch fund," saying that the U.K. would offer to contribute $1.3 billion over the coming three years.

Brown claimed that such a $10 billion a year fund would send a signal to the world's poorest nations that the strongest economic powers are serious about tackling climate change.

"We have got to provide some money to help that," said Brown.

"Britain will do so, the rest of Europe will do so and I believe America will do so as well."

Subsidizing the efforts of the world's developing nations to resist climate change is sure to be one of the pivotal issues on which next month's U.N. summit in the Danish capital hinges.

Though both U.S. and Chinese leaders have promised significant reductions in their countries' emissions of greenhouse gases, U.N. scientists continue to say that much more is needed.

From the Trinidad meeting, Sarkozy also admonished his American counterpart President Obama, to consider staying longer at the Copenhagen meeting.  Obama currently plans to attend the climate summit for one day on December 9 before traveling on to Oslo to accept the Nobel Peace Prize.

"If we are not all there at the same time, then what kind of solution can we possibly come up with?" asked Sarkozy rhetorically.

The French premier also spent a good bit of time at the Trinidad meeting attempting to persuade Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to attend the Copenhagen summit and commit to significant benchmarks in reducing greenhouses in his increasingly powerful country.

Danish Prime Minister Loekke Rasmussen, who will play host at the December conference, has contended that financial subsidies to developing countries should be a centerpiece of any climate change agreement.

"If developing countries are to be successful in the long run in their efforts to combating climate change we will need to provide substantially scaled-up, new and additional financial resources for both mitigation and adaptation," said Rasmussen.

"Copenhagen will have to provide an adequate answer to this."


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