Climate Poker: Obama Offers $100 Billion Annual Wealth Transfer

  • Date: 17/12/09

The Times: The United States today pledged support for a $100 billion annual climate protection fund in a move that could clinch a global deal, and which came just as the Copenhagen summit appeared to be heading for failure. Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State, attached strong conditions to the US contribution to the fund, including a demand that China accept independent scrutiny of its emissions reductions.

She said also said the US money would only be forthcoming if a deal was signed tomorrow by 193 countries. This was a clear signal to developing countries to lower their demands for higher emissions cuts from the US and other rich nations.

Mrs Clinton said: “The US is prepared to work with other countries toward a goal of jointly mobilising $100billion a year by 2020 to address the climate change needs of developing countries.”

Mrs Clinton made clear the US would not be improving on its previous commitment to cut emissions by 4 per cent on 1990 levels by 2020.

She did not say how much the US would be contributing towards the $100billion fund, available in full by 2020, but indicated that the US would pay its fair share. She said the money would come from “a wide variety of sources”, including new financing mechanisms. This was a reference to EU proposals for raising climate finance through taxes on aviation, shipping and financial transactions. 

The US contribution would be earmarked partly to protect rainforests, as the White House believes the US public is more willing to accept paying for this.

The Secretary of State has put the ball in the court of the Chinese and other major emerging economies such as India, Brazil and South Africa by insisting that any carbon limits they agree to would have to be open to international verification.

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