China praised for financial aid on climate
US negotiator notes $3b contribution
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.