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Europe’s wallet shrinks, Green Fund to suffer

The Green Fund that was proposed at Copenhagen to finance climate adaptation seems to have hit two stumbling blocks. Europe’s financial crises and civil society’s claim that offers are “old wine in a new bottle” are threatening to derail the fund.

world Updated: Jun 09, 2010 00:23 IST
Chetan Chauhan

The Green Fund that was proposed at Copenhagen to finance climate adaptation seems to have hit two stumbling blocks. Europe’s financial crises and civil society’s claim that offers are “old wine in a new bottle” are threatening to derail the fund.

At the Bonn climate conference, none of the European countries have offered anything substantial except Sweden, which has offered a few million Euros for climate adaptation.

Saleemul Huq, of the International Institute for Environment and Development, said an agreement on adaptation is in “reasonably good shape”, but finance is proving to be a problem.

Most European nations have cited financial constraints as a reason for not managing funds for a short-term green fund of US$ 30 billion by 2012 and long-term finance of US$ 100 billion by 2020 as committed in Copenhagen in December 2009.

Germany on Monday announced its biggest domestic austerity measure since World War-II aimed at saving 19 billion euros in the current financial year. Spain has announced a five per cent cut in salaries of the government employees whereas British Prime Minister David Cameron has asked citizens to be ready for more taxes and lesser funding for public services.

Chinese chief negotiator Yu Quingtai said, “Leave alone money, Europe is not even willing to increase emission reduction targets in Copenhagen.”

The UN Secretary General’s High Level Advisory Group on Climate Financing told 185 countries attending the conference on Tuesday that the group will not recommend how much money will be available but will only suggest the possible sources for climate funding. The group will submit report before Cancun climate conference.

Indian negotiator Ajay Mathur, who also heads Bureau of Energy Efficiency, said there was a need to allocate specific funds for climate mitigation, adaptation and capacity building.

Yvo de Boer, head of UN’s convention of climate change, however, said that agreements on issues important to developing countries — such as capacity building, technology transfer — should be possible in Mexico.

Mexico not hopeful of striking deal

Mexico does not seem hopeful that the climate summit in Cancun in December will be a deal-clincher. “We know it is difficult in the process like this to reach an agreement,” said Mexico’s UN envoy Lious Alphonso during the week-long talks held at Bonn. The talks have failed to go ahead with the developing countries including India sticking to their stand that rich countries should bear the burden of fighting climate change.

Mexico has made a proposal on measurement, review and verification MRV and finance, the two biggest stumbling blocks in climate talks. On MRV, Mexico wants to adopt the peer review system of the UN’s human rights convention. On finance, Mexico has proposed a Green Fund bigger than the Copenhagen fund.

“At this pace having an agreement in South Africa (in 2011) would be difficult.”