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Annual Climate Poker: UN Talks Tangle Over Cash

Megan Rowling, Reuters

The Marrakesh climate talks may not deliver the substantial boost in international funding poorer countries need to cope with worsening floods, droughts, storms and rising seas brought by climate change, negotiators and development agencies fear.


Negotiators sparred on Thursday over the future of the Adaptation Fund to help vulnerable communities cope with climate change, which was set up under the Kyoto Protocol, the treaty preceding the new Paris Agreement.

There was also disagreement over how strong a commitment rich countries were prepared to make on funding for developing nations to adapt to a warmer planet in the coming years.

Bomo Edna Molewa, South Africa’s environment minister, said governments would continue searching for solutions to those issues at the U.N. negotiations, which are due to end on Friday.

“The adaptation matter is very important for developing countries,” she told journalists.

Some developed nations do not want to take an immediate decision to secure the Adaptation Fund’s future under the Paris Agreement, which took effect on Nov. 4.

They point to a proliferation of climate funds, and the legal questions that would have to be addressed to transfer where the fund sits, given the Kyoto Protocol runs until 2020.

The United States has not contributed to the Adaptation Fund up to now because it did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

A levy on the protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism, which backs clean energy projects in the developing world by selling the carbon credits they generate, provided some cash for the Adaptation Fund, but that dried up as carbon prices fell.

There was some good news in Marrakesh Thursday as the fund topped an $80 million goal to raise funds from donors, with contributions from Germany, Sweden, Italy and two Belgian regions.

Development experts at the talks welcomed the new pledges.

But they say tens of billions of dollars are already needed for adaptation each year – and that figure could rise to between $140 billion and $300 billion annually in 2030, according to the U.N. Environment Programme.

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