France says penny-pinching risks global climate deal success in 2015

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Foreign minister Laurent Fabius says new climate aid pledges to poor countries are an ‘absolute precondition’ for next year's summit.

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Rich states that bean-count their climate aid contributions are threatening the prospect of a climate deal being agreed in Paris next year, French leaders say, reports The Guardian.

By 2020, a $100bn-a-year (£62bn-a-year) green climate fund has been pledged to help poor countries cope with the effects of climate disruption. And the UN has set itself a fundraising target of $10bn (£6.2bn) for the end of this year.

But so far, just $2.3bn (£1.4bn) has been banked, despite pledges of $1bn (£620m) each by France and Germany at a UN climate summit in New York last month.

The  French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, told a conference in Paris on Saturday that even though the meeting hosted by Ban Ki-Moon had been positive, “the financing commitments were just not there”.

“It is fine and dandy to have these summits but a lot of countries still need to contribute funds,” he added.

Nicolas Hulot, the country’s special envoy on climate change, told The Guardian that the matter would have to be settled well before next year’s summit, if a successor deal to the Kyoto protocol is to be thrashed out.

Otherwise, “this will put the multilateral process at risk because of legitimate defiance by the most vulnerable countries in the global south,” he said. “Anyone can understand why countries which are victims of natural events – for which they are not responsible – expect minimal solidarity from states that have the capacity to contribute. Their defiance is understandable. If we want to have them around the table in 2015, we need first to make clear what our financial commitments are. For my part, I consider it an absolute precondition.”

Many poor countries have expressed concerns about counting private sector finance in the proposed international fund, fearing cherry-picking and profit-taking by companies with little interest in their plight.

Hulot said this was a valid perspective because of past experience and “for the respective proportion of grants and loans, I tend to think that 50-50 would be something quite realistic”.

Read more of this report from The Guardian.

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