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Climate Billions For Poor Nations Still Nowhere To Be Found

A $30 billion pledge by wealthy nations to help poor countries cope with the effects of climate change was on the table at a meeting of the world’s biggest carbon polluters this week, but there was scant new progress to report.

The U.S. reannounced its plan to deliver $1.3 billion in international climate finance for 2010, and $1.9 billion in 2011, at the close of the 17-nation Major Economies Forum (MEF) in Washington.

“There is not anything new in the announcement coming out of the MEF,” said Ilana Solomon, a climate policy analyst at ActionAid, a global anti-poverty agency.

Solomon noted that the 2011 climate allocation jumped to $1.9 billion from the $1.4 billion in President Obama’s budget earlier this year, thanks to some double counting.

“The administration seems to now be counting $386 million from other programs which have ‘co-benefits’ for climate adaptation and mitigation, such as investments food security and health programs, as climate finance,” Solomon said. “This double counting raises serious questions.”

At the international climate talks in Copenhagen last year, the world agreed to provide $10 billion in new fast-track finance per year from 2010-2012. For rich nations, that promise was one of the few areas where they could demonstrate a breakthrough.

To the dismay of poor countries, however, there is little sign of the cash pouring in.

Further angering developing countries, the funding pledges can be channeled through a variety of aid organizations, including the World Bank, which often sets conditions and fees on its handouts. Poorer states want the money funneled through a single global fund set up under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Nearly 50 percent of U.S. climate dollars would flow through the World Bank. Less than 5 percent would be dispersed through the UNFCCC, according to government figures.

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