US and Japan miss deadline on cash for UN green climate fund

Reuters News
|
Posted: Apr 30, 2015 9:51 AM

By Alister Doyle and Megan Rowling

OSLO/BARCELONA (Reuters) - The United States and Japan will miss a U.N. deadline on Thursday to firm up promises to provide billions of dollars for a new U.N. fund intended to help developing nations tackle global warming, the fund said.

The Green Climate Fund (GCF), which wants to decide on a first set of projects to aid developing nations before a Paris U.N. climate summit in December, said donors had signed deals of almost $4 billion, 42 percent of a total promised in late 2014.

The signed deals, which lay out a firm timetable for when promised money will be paid, are below the minimum level set by donors, of 50 percent of the total by April 30, to start full operations by the GCF.

"A lot of progress has been made," Hela Cheikhrouhou, executive director of the Fund, told an online news conference from South Korea on Thursday.

"The work is not finished," she said, urging governments to speed up contributions to help get on track.

Top donors the United States, which promised $3 billion, and Japan, on $1.5 billion, were not among nations that have signed deals, according to a GCF overview. Cheikhrouhou said no new deals were expected later on Thursday.

Britain and Germany led by signing deals covering their full amounts of $1.2 billion and $1 billion respectively, followed by Sweden, France, Norway and the Netherlands.

The Fund is intended to help developing nations cut their greenhouse gas emissions by shifting to renewable energies such as solar or wind and help them adapt to changes such as more floods, desertification and rising ocean levels.

It has not ruled out funding fossil fuels, if they help towards cleaner energy use.

The Fund raised $9.35 billion at a pledging conference in November but new cash promised since then, including by Australia, has raised the pledged total to $10.2 billion.

Separately, Cheikhrouhou told Reuters that the fund was "an essential ingredient of a successful agreement" in Paris.

The GCF is meant as one of the main avenues of a 2009 deal to mobilise $100 billion a year in aid to developing nations, from public and private sources, to help combat climate change.

Cheikhrouhou said emerging economies needed to invest about $2.5 trillion a year in sectors such as energy, transport, agriculture and industry and an extra $450 billion to ensure they were green.

(Editing by Andrew Roche)