China praised for fi­nan­cial aid on cli­mate

US ne­go­tia­tor notes $3b con­tri­bu­tion

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS AMERICAS - By AMY HE in New York amyhe@chi­nadai­

De­spite the ques­tion of fi­nances be­ing one of the con­tro­ver­sial pieces of the Paris cli­mate ne­go­ti­a­tions next week, the US’ top cli­mate-change ne­go­tia­tor ap­plauded China on Tues­day for its $3 bil­lion con­tri­bu­tion to help de­vel­op­ing coun­tries pre­pare for cli­mate change.

China an­nounced the con­tri­bu­tion in Septem­ber dur­ing Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping’s state visit to the US, a big in­crease com­pared to pre­vi­ous com­mit­ments and one that could po­ten­tially sur­pass the US’ con­tri­bu­tion to the United Na­tions’ Green Cli­mate Fund.

“That’s ter­rific. So in a sys­tem go­ing for­ward, as more and more coun­tries grow, de­velop, and gain the ca­pac­ity to be­come con­trib­u­tors—not just re­cip­i­ents—we think that that’s a de­vel­op­ment that should be en­cour­aged,” said Todd Stern, Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s spe­cial en­voy for cli­mate change, in a con­fer­ence call from Wash­ing­ton with me­dia about the up­com­ing Paris con­fer­ence.

Obama will meet Xi and In­dia’s prime min­is­ter on the first day of the Paris cli­mate talks on Nov 30 to give mo­men­tum to the UN ne­go­ti­a­tions, White House of­fi­cials said on Tues­day. Paul Bod­nar, se­nior di­rec­tor for en­ergy and cli­mate change at the White House Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, said Obama’s meet­ings with Xi and Modi are not meant to yield an­nounce­ments but to con­sult on key ne­go­ti­a­tions is­sues.

Joanna Lewis, as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor at Ge­orge­town Univer­sity, said that just the an­nounce­ment of China’s fi­nan­cial con­tri­bu­tion is a “big deal, be­cause up un­til this point the fi­nanc­ing dis­cus­sion has been lim­ited to ‘de­vel­oped’ coun­tries pro­vid­ing funds for ‘de­vel­op­ing’ coun­tries.” She said the con­tri­bu­tion “broad­ens the scope of cli­mate fi­nance as well as the to­tal amount that coun­tries will pledge.”

Fi­nanc­ing cli­mate goals has been a key is­sue lead­ing up to the Paris talks, with

No coun­try wants the sit­u­a­tion in Copen­hagen to be re­peated.”

coun­tries discussing how to un­lock fi­nan­cial sup­port to help de­vel­op­ing coun­tries achieve low-car­bon growth.

There are other ques­tions on how to tran­si­tion the broader global econ­omy to­ward low-car­bon de­vel­op­ment and how to bal­ance pub­lic and pri­vate sup­port, ac­cord­ing to cli­mate ex­perts and or­ga­ni­za­tions.

Stern also ad­dressed a ques­tion on the role de­vel­op­ing coun­tries have to play in cli­mate ne­go­ti­a­tions when de­vel­oped economies are of­ten the largest emit­ters, cit­ing China as an ex­am­ple of a de­vel­op­ing coun­try, but also one that has been ac­tive in its con­tri­bu­tions to cli­mate ac­tion.

He added that 60 to 65 per­cent of the cur­rent global emis­sions come from de­vel­op­ing coun­tries — which is a “good thing” be­cause it means de­vel­op­ing coun­tries are de­vel­op­ing — but that cli­mate change shouldn’t come just from de­vel­oped coun­tries.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from close to 200 coun­tries will gather in Paris next week to put to­gether a global agree­ment cut­ting green­house gases. At a sim­i­lar meet­ing in 2009 in Copen­hagen, coun­tries failed to reach agree­ment on how best to achieve global cli­mate goals.

China’s cli­mate chief, Xie Zhen­hua, said on Mon­day that “no coun­try wants the sit­u­a­tion in Copen­hagen to be re­peated” and that it would be best to leave the ne­go­ti­at­ing to the ne­go­tia­tors, as op­posed to let­ting heads of state to re­solve the prob­lems.

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