EU official warns climate aid 'will not come for free'

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China and India's hesitation to formally back a Copenhagen climate agreement could jeopardise $30 billion of climate aid to the developing world, a senior European Union official said on Wednesday.

Some 100 countries have signed up for the Copenhagen Accord for fighting climate change, two months after it was agreed at a summit in December, documents showed on Tuesday.

China, India and Russia are the largest greenhouse gas emitters yet to make clear if they fully endorse the deal, which sets a goal of limiting a rise in world temperatures to less than two degrees Celsius.

Under the non-binding pact, rich nations also plan to give $30 billion in climate aid from 2010-12, rising to $100 billion a year from 2020, largely channelled through a 'Copenhagen Green Climate Fund'.

Karl Falkenberg, director-general for environment at the European Commission, said on Wednesday that the fund would be only available "in the context of an international framework that leads to the reduction of CO2 emissions".

"It is not money for free, it is money that comes with an outcome where everyone is making an effort, then we are helping developing countries to make more of an effort than they could do on their own," he told reporters on the sidelines of a UN environment conference in Nusa Dua, on the Indonesian island of Bali.

Falkenberg suggested that, in particular, countries which did not fully support the Accord may not qualify for the funds. China has already said it did not expect to be a big recipient.

"If countries hesitate to commit to the Copenhagen Accord which has created this green fund then it's difficult to talk about the green fund with countries that are not clear whether they are in or out or whether they want it," said Falkenberg.

"We need to see a preparedness to work with the Accord."

China said in Copenhagen last year it did not want any of the green funds. A spokesman for British Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said earlier this month that the aid would not be contingent on cooperation from big polluters.

China and India have submitted emissions goals under the Accord, but have stopped short of saying they want to be listed as "associates", using the formal language of the agreement.

(EurActiv with Reuters.)

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