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US should spend as much on climate change as war
11 Dec 2009

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Poor countries have demanded that the US spends as much on tackling climate change as it does on warfare.

The row between the rich countries and the developing world intensified at the Copenhagen summit, as China and its supporters blamed America for “endangering the world” by refusing to hand over more cash.

Developing nations are pushing for £120bn ( $200bn) to help them tackle the effects of global warming, which is double the amount of money currently on the table.

In a new twist to the negotiations, Lumumba di-Aping, chief negotiator of the China and the G77 group of nations, made a direct appeal to US politicians to reapportion cash currently set aside for global financial emergencies.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) holds billions of pounds to bail out countries suffering cash shortages.

Developing nations now argue that it should be offered in loans, so that they can they can build sea defences, plant forests and invest in renewable energy.

“The American Congress has to be asked: you approve billions of dollars in defence budgets. Can’t you approve $200bn to save the world?” Mr di-Aping said.

The proposal to use the emergency funds was first suggested by George Soros, the billionaire US investor.

Mr Soros warned that the row now engulfing Copenhagen could “wreck the conference”.

The rift was sparked by Tuvalu, the tiny island state, that has staged noisy protests at the talks. It is calling for any deal to restrict warming to a rise of 2.7F (1.5C).

It was backed by other vulnerable nations in Africa and the leaders from developing nations that make up more than half the world’s countries.

However, this would be almost impossible and most countries have made it clear they would not sign up to such a strict target.

Accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, US President Barack Obama called on countries negotiating at Copenhagen to “reach for the world that ought to be”.

But at the summit, developing countries renewed their strong criticism of the President for refusing to sign the Kyoto Protocol – a key source of disagreement.

They want to keep the global treaty, which forces rich countries cut their carbon dioxide emissions by fixed amounts but makes developing countries exempt from binding targets.

Others want a whole new treaty forcing both rich and poor countries to reduce their greenhouse gases.

Under former President George Bush, the US consistently refused to sign the treaty and it still does not have legally binding targets to lower emissions.

“We ask President Obama and the US to go into the Kyoto Protocol, because the world cannot achieve an equitable and a just deal that would save the planet without the participation of the US,” Mr di-Aping said.

The European Union, including the UK, was also under pressure today as leaders met for the European Council. Again developing countries want the block of nations to increase funding to fight climate change and put up targets to cut emissions from 20 to 30 per cent by 2020.


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Source: The Telegraph