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India: Obama’s Pledge Is Just ‘Peanuts Compared To The Promised $100 Billion A Year’

Vishwa Mohan, Times of India

Obama’s $3 billion pledge to the Green Climate Fund  is just a peanut compared to the $100 billion a year promised by rich nations collectively to their poor counterparts from 2020 onwards.

Three days after entering into a joint climate deal with China to limit emission of greenhouse gases, the world’s biggest ‘historical’ polluter, the US, on Saturday pledged $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) – a financial support mechanism aimed at assisting poor countries to a low carbon resilient future – making the corpus of the Fund to nearly $6 billion.

Though the amount is just a peanut as compared to the $100 billion a year promised by rich nations collectively to their poor counterparts from 2020 onwards, this is the largest signal pledge to date by any rich countries to the GCF. It may, therefore, be seen as a good beginning from the US side which had earlier been not so keen of its early capitalization.

The US pledge for the Fund was announced by the President Barack Obama at Queensland University in Brisbane, Australia where he is attending the G20 meeting.

“Today, I’m announcing that the US will take another important step. We will contribute $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund to help developing nations deal with climate change,” Obama said in his speech in Brisbane, bringing the climate change issue to the fore as a key debating point during the G20 meet.

Interestingly, the host country Australia and the world’s present top carbon emitter China did not initially want the climate change agenda to figure at all during the G20 summit. India had, however, insisted for this agenda to come up during the august gathering of major economies.

The US announcement came just four days ahead of the pledging conference for the capitalization of the GCF in Berlin on November 19-20. The American pledge is seen as a step to inspire other rich nations to make similar pledge in Berlin.

The Fund, which was established in 2010, recently became operational with countries developing a set of ground rules for its operation. It is a key part of the $100 billion a year promised by rich countries to developing ones from 2020 onwards in support of their ambition to mitigate emissions and adapt to climatic impacts.

Though the $6 billion, pledged so far, is much less than the intended amount, it may send a positive signal to the developing countries ahead of Lima conference next month.

India and other developing countries have long been demanding early capitalization of the GCF so that the money can be used to buy intellectual property rights (IPR) of the high-cost green technology for the poor nations.

The other countries which have, so far, pledged to the GCF include Germany, France, Sweden, Netherlands, Mexico and the Republic of Korea.

The US pledge to contribute to the GCF is the second move of the country in past four days towards its effort to contribute to face the challenges of climate change. On Wednesday, the US along with China had promised to take steps to limit their emissions of greenhouse gases.

Under the bilateral deal that was signed in Beijing, the US had pledged to reduce emissions by 26-28% below the 2005 levels by 2025 while China promised to achieve the peaking of carbon emissions around 2030 and try to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 20% by 2030.

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