EU finance ministers set for vague climate promises

Reuters News
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Posted: Nov 05, 2015 10:45 AM

By Barbara Lewis

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European finance ministers are likely to agree on Tuesday to provide more cash to help the world adapt to global warming, which campaigners say that will be too weak for a successful outcome to the Paris talks on a new climate deal.

Poor nations have said climate finance will be the biggest issue for the Paris negotiations that begin on Nov. 30.

A draft document prepared for next Tuesday's meeting of EU finance ministers says the European Union's climate finance contribution for 2014 was 14.5 billion euros ($15.8 billion), which compares to 9.5 billion euros in 2013 and an estimated 13.6 billion so far this year.

The 28 member states, it says, are committed to "scaling up the mobilization of climate finance" to contribute their share of the rich world's goal collectively to provide $100 billion per year from 2020.

Environment campaigners say such language is not enough and that the European Union has yet to provide sufficient transparency to prove the funding is new cash, rather than aid money that has been already handed out and relabeled as climate funding.

Their hope is the European Union's negotiators will have a plan B to ensure climate finance does not become a deal-breaker in Paris.

"They will not be showing their full hand ahead of the final negotiations, so one would hope that they are developing back-up plans," Lies Craeynest, a policy adviser at Oxfam, said.

Although the fund of $100 billion per year is to be provided exclusively by the developed world, Oxfam says developing countries are already forced to pour resources into adapting to more extreme weather linked to global warming.

The campaign group has estimated African nations pay $5 billion each year to adapt.

Beyond the traditional rich nations, meanwhile, China has offered the biggest single funding pledge, announcing in September it would provide $3 billion, which Oxfam said was a significant signal, although it was seeking more detail.

Diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they expected the document on climate finance to be adopted without major changes on Tuesday.

(Additional reporting by Alister Doyle in Oslo, editing by William Hardy)