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Climate change funding talks stall at G20

Date: 07-Sep-09
Country: UK
Author: Tom Bergin

Climate change funding talks stall at G20 Photo: Vijay Mathur
Smoke billows from the chimneys of a power station in New Delhi September 2, 2009.
Photo: Vijay Mathur

LONDON - Differences between rich and developing countries prevented G20 finance ministers from agreeing measures on Saturday to curb global warming, casting more doubt on U.N. efforts to agree a new climate treaty.

Industrialized nations sought progress on climate change financing at a meeting of G20 finance ministers but met resistance from emerging nations including China and India, who fear the proposals could stifle their economic growth, two G20 sources said.

Ministers said in their concluding statement that they would work toward a successful outcome at a United Nations meeting in Copenhagen in December which aims to draft a new climate change treaty to succeed the Kyoto agreement.

British finance minister Alistair Darling said there had been "very substantial" discussion on the topic but no specific measures were agreed.

"I am also a little disappointed by the lack of positive commitment today," European Union Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said.

Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg, representing the European Union, agreed the outcome was "not satisfactory."

"We would have been very happy to move further than we were able to at this meeting," he added.

WRONG PLACE, WRONG TIME?

U.S. President Barack Obama said in July that finance ministers should report on climate finance at a September 24-25 G20 leaders' summit in the U.S. city of Pittsburgh, raising expectations of progress this weekend in London.

Russia's Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said there was disagreement on whether the G20 was the right forum to debate the matter.

"Some participants thought we should make a strong statement on this issue, including possibly increasing the resources allocated to it. The other contingent thought this discussion, and these decisions should take place in Copenhagen," Kudrin told reporters.

G20 sources said China and India had been among those objecting to detailed talks on climate change.

In a statement on Friday, the finance ministers of Brazil, Russia, India and China said the UN's Framework Convention on Climate Change, which overseas the drafting of the new treaty, should be the main forum for negotiations on climate change.

However, developing nations are suspicious rich countries are trying to avoid paying the full amount needed to cut C02 emissions and mitigate the impacts of climate change, and seeking to push some of the financial burden on to them.

"Many developing countries are concerned that the global issue of climate change will constrain their ability to industrialize without creating additional costs," said Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati on Friday.

Developing nations are especially skeptical of proposals for private sector funding of the fight against climate change. They are keen for developed countries' governments to stump up the cash needed.

(Editing by Keith Weir)

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