From: Reuters
Published February 7, 2008 04:02 PM

Finance chiefs urge support for clean energy fund

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The finance chiefs of the United States, Britain and Japan on Thursday urged other governments to join their efforts to launch a multibillion-dollar fund to help developing countries switch to clean energy technologies.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, British Finance Minister Alistair Darling and Japanese Finance Minister Fukushiro Nukaga said in an opinion piece published by the Financial Times that the fund can help slow the growth of greenhouse gas emissions in developing economies.

"By pooling our efforts to support a new clean technology fund, administered by the World Bank, we can help developing countries bridge the gap between dirty technology and clean technology," they wrote. "The fund will support publicly and privately financed projects that deploy technologies that can cut emissions, increase efficiency and save energy."

Paulson, Darling and Nukaga said the fund will be part of the climate agenda at this year's Group of Eight industrialized nations meeting in Japan. It is also expected to be discussed at this week's Group of Seven finance ministers meeting in Japan, according to Treasury officials.

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President George W. Bush has pledged $2 billion to the fund over the next three years, while Britain has pledged part of its 800 million-pound ($1.6 billion) Environmental Transformation Fund and Japan has announced the creation of a $10 billion financial mechanism to support developing countries committed to combating climate change.

"However, to be large enough to have a meaningful impact, the fund will require the support of other governments. We ask others to join our effort," the ministers wrote.

According to World Bank estimates, the cost difference between lower-emitting new technologies and older, dirtier technologies for power plants expected to be built in developing countries by 2030 is about $30 billion.

"Without moving growth onto a cleaner technology path, climate change could have a devastating impact on the world's poorest and most vulnerable people. The fund will be an important step towards meeting the challenge of creating an environmentally sustainable path to prosperity," they added.

(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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