U.N. Climate Conference close to deal on Climate Fund
Negotiators are close to agreeing the shape of a Green Climate Fund, which is designed to help poor nations tackle global warming and nudge them towards a new global effort to fight climate change.
Rich countries have pledged up to $100 billion a year by 2020 to aid poor states most directly affected by rising global temperatures to adapt their economies and protect themselves from adverse weather.
But critics say it could remain a hollow shell unless there is also agreement on where the actual funds come from -- and how the money is spent.
"I have a fair amount of confidence this is going to get done in a positive way," U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern told reporters on Wednesday. Only a few technical operational details remained to be thrashed out, he said.
China has said it wants the fund set up before it will make its domestic climate efforts binding under an international agreement from 2020. Other important developing countries also want the fund's design agreed in Durban.
"It is our priority to have the fund adopted and functional in South Africa," Brazilian climate envoy Luiz Alberto Figueiredo told Reuters.
Mexico, which hosted climate talks last year and has offered to host the headquarters of the planned fund, said a deal was "within reach" and could lead to progress in other parts of the climate change negotiations.
"It helps a lot," said Luis Alfonso de Alba, Mexico's lead negotiator.
Nevertheless, some sources said the United States was still haggling over where the long-term finance would come from and how to measure the needs of poorer countries.
When asked how much money could be available, U.S. envoy Stern said most donor countries were waiting for the fund to get up and running before making contributions.
Some cash could come from imposing a charge for carbon emissions on international shipping, but it is unclear whether ministers will adopt that proposal made in draft texts.
Photo shows smoke billowing from a power station in Shenyang, Liaoning province, November 24, 2010.
Credit: Reuters/Sheng Li