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Eurozone crisis may cloud Durban climate talks

Monday November 14, 2011 08:54:58 AM, Richa Sharma, IANS

New Delhi: Ahead of the Durban climate change talks beginning Nov 28, experts are worried that Eurozone crisis may curtail the billions of dollars of funding from industrialised countries to their poorer counterparts to adapt to climate change.

Money is expected to be a bone of contention between developing and developed countries at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties 17 (COP 17) Nov 28-Dec 9.

With financial crisis deepening in Europe -- spreading from Greece to Italy -- and the US economy also going through a troubled phase, the money pledged by developed countries is nowhere to be seen.

"The financial crisis in Europe will definitely affect the flow of money promised by the rich countries and this is going to be a big fight in Durban," Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general of the Centre for Science and Environment, told IANS.

According to Bhushan, with the troubled financial scenario in the West, developing countries can forget about any money coming their way, at least in the near future.

"Developed countries have already started re-labelling development aid and loans as climate finance, but there is no new money coming in," he said.

India's former key negotiator Prodipto Ghosh agreed that developed countries are in the process of camouflaging other development aid as climate finance.

"There is no new money coming from rich countries and they have been re-packaging existing funds to help developing countries adapt to climate change and curb emissions," Ghosh, a former environment secretary and currently a senior fellow at The Energy Research Institute (TERI), told IANS.

According to reports, EU finance ministers, during their meeting in Brussels Nov 9, marked around $5.5 billion short-term funding to help developing countries adapt to climate change.

Known as 'fast-start finance', the money is part of a commitment at the 2009 climate summit in Copenhagen to provide $30 billion between 2010 and 2012 to developing nations.

At the 2010 Cancun climate summit, developed countries had re-confirmed a commitment to raise $100 billion annually by 2020 for the longer term.

NGOs like Oxfam and Greenpeace have termed the money pledged by the EU as re-labelling of development aid.

"Climate finance will be part of India's agenda for Durban. The developed world has promised money in last two conferences but there has been no money on the table. Money is going to be a major point of discussion at Durban," a senior government official, part of India's 41-member delegation to Durban, told IANS.

India's official stand has been that success of the Durban conference will depend on the operationalisation of the Cancun agreements.

To this end, some comfort can be sought from the communique issued after a G20 summit earlier this month.

"We are committed to the success of the Durban conference on climate change. We call for the implementation of the Cancun agreements and further progress in all areas of negotiation, including the operationalisation of the Green Climate Fund, as part of a balanced outcome in Durban," the communique said.

(Richa Sharma can be contacted at






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