EU ministers to back 'urgent' climate aid for poor nations
EU finance ministers meeting on Tuesday (16 March) will call for cash to be mobilised "urgently" to help developing countries tackle climate change, according to a draft statement seen by EurActiv.
Taking stock of the Copenhagen Accord, which has now been backed by more than 90 countries - including China, India and the United States - EU finance ministers seem keen to avoid any further delay in directing climate aid to developing countries.
The EU has committed to contribute EUR 2.4 billion annually over the period 2010-2012 in so-called 'fast-start' funding to help developing nations adapt to the unavoidable consequences of climate change. Other developed nations, including the United States and Japan, have promised equivalent sums of money for a total of $30 billion.
"The implications of the Copenhagen Accord for the EU's positions on climate financing will need to be studied further," read the draft conclusions of the ministers' meeting.
But the EU does not want to accumulate further delays and will push other parties to promptly announce details on their fast-start contributions.
EU member states are ready to present a preliminary state of play on aid at the next session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, scheduled to take place in Bonn in early June, reads the draft.
The ministers intend to submit EU-coordinated reports on the deployment of climate finance at the Cancun climate conference at the end of the year and want to encourage other developed countries to do the same.
Earlier this week, the European Commission has presented a new full-fledged strategy to further advance negotiations towards a global legally-binding agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012 (EurActiv 10/03/10).
The EU wants to bolster its outreach in order to build confidence that a global deal can be reached and to explore specific, action-oriented decisions that could be taken in Cancun next December.
The EU's climate chief, Connie Hedegaard, is due to travel to the US and Mexico next week and is expected to host talks later this month in Brussels with Chinese representatives. In April, she is scheduled to visit India, Japan and China.
The Commission strategy outlined that part of the EU's outreach to the US, Japan and Australia should be working to develop an OECD-wide carbon market by 2015, linking together those countries' domestic cap-and-trade systems.
EU ministers will reiterate next week the need to develop practical proposals to scale up long-term financing for mitigation and adaptation strategies in developing countries (see 'Background').
"The potential of innovative sources of finance and market-based instruments in particular, including carbon markets, as well as leverage private finance through public finance should be taken into account," reads the draft, which underlines the EU's readiness to support the work of the newly-established UN Advisory Group on climate change financing.
The aim is to develop a cost-effective deployment of increased financial flows towards poor nations by establishing the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund. That process has to be drawn, however, on experiences and lessons learnt from existing funds and international financial institutions, the draft points out.
In recent months, the EU has not been shy in underlying however that climate aid "will not come for free".
Karl Falkenberg, director-general for environment at the European Commission, said last month that the fund would be only available "in the context of an international framework that leads to the reduction of CO2 emissions" (EurActiv 25/02/10).
The Copenhagen climate conference in December was designed to achieve a new climate agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.
But after two weeks of extenuating talks, world leaders delivered an agreement that left Europeans disappointed, as it did not include binding commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions (EurActiv 19/12/09).
The face-saving deal, dubbed the 'Copenhagen Accord', established a goal to keep global temperature rises below 2°C in order to avoid dangerous climate change.
Moreover, it prescribed that developed countries would provide close to $30 billion in so-called "fast-start" aid for developing countries for 2010-2012, rising to $100 billion a year by 2020.
- 31 May-11 June: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change session in Bonn.