Giant climate deal is too little says UN chief

A A A

The giant cash deal to save the planet – proposed by Europe for the forthcoming Copenhagen climate conference – will not be enough, the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, said today.

The public-money fund of up to €50bn annually, which the European Union suggested would be adequate to help developing nations protect themselves from global warming, and cut back on their own carbon emissions, would need to be “scaled up”, Mr Ban said.

His remarks threw into sharp relief the vast scale of new financial aid from the rich to the poor countries which will be necessary to secure a new international climate change treaty in the Danish capital next month. There is already a colossal divergence between what the poorer, developing countries say is necessary, and what the rich developed countries are prepared to pay – which could lead to a deal breaking down.

On a flying visit to London, the Secretary General said that the package agreed by the EU on Friday, which envisaged a total annual climate fund of €100bn, the public finance element of which should be €22bn to €50bn, “could be a good start”.

It would help to bridge the gap in confidence and trust between the developed and the developing nations, he said. But he added: “It needs to be scaled up as we go.”

Europe’s proposals, made at Friday’s council of EU leaders, including Gordon Brown, are vitally important for the Copenhagen meeting, which begins on 7 December, as they are the only figures so far on the table from the rich world for the financial arrangement which will be a key part of any new climate change pact. Europe itself would probably pay between €5bn and €12bn of the 22-to-50 total, with Britain’s share being about €1bn.

It is accepted on all sides that the rich nations, responsible for most of the carbon dioxide which has gone into the atmosphere over the last 200 years, will have to find substantial sums to help the developing countries map out a new low-carbon growth path, and adapt to the effects of climate change which is now unavoidable. But there is a big difference of opinion on what the figures should be.

The developing countries themselves have proposed that the new financial flows should be between 0.5 and 1 per cent of the rich countries’ GDP, which could be anything up to $400bn – about £250bn annually.

Europe’s more modest (but still enormous) figure put forward on Friday thus leaves a very big gap which officials from 192 countries are trying to bridge this week in Barcelona, in the final week-long session of pre-Copenhagen negotiations. Mr Ban’s intervention, stating unequivocally that the EU figures are too low, ups the ante in the talks considerably.

However, one senior European official said he thought it was unlikely that the EU offer could be substantially revised upwards. “This is what the EU has decided its taxpayers can afford and a final deal will have to be of this order,” he said.

Mr Moon said the Copenhagen meeting would be a success if it included four elements: ambitious mid-term targets for developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, coupled with equally ambitious actions from the developing countries to cut their own CO2; a strong deal to help poor states adapt to the effects of the coming warming; substantial financial support for developing countries; and equitable governance structures for all the new arrangements.

But he issued a word of caution, saying that the Copenhagen meeting “might not be the final word on all these matters”.

He said: “I am not lowering the bar.” But he thought that the meeting would be a success if it could produce a politically-binding agreement, rather than a new legally-binding treaty.

“If we agree a binding political commitment, that would be a reasonable success,” he said. “Then post-Copenhagen negotiations should continue until we have a legally-binding agreement as soon as possible.”

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea