A new round of climate negotiations kicked off in Germany today with squabbling over money and procedural questions that could threaten progress at the two-week UN conference.
UN climate chief Yvo de Boer and activists from groups including Oxfam, Greenpeace, and WWF pressured industrial nations to live up to their promises of financial aid to poor countries as about 4,500 participants from 182 countries gathered in Bonn.
Concrete financial contributions must “show that developed countries are ready to deliver what they promised five months ago in Copenhagen,” de Boer told reporters, referring to the disappointing climate summit in the Danish capital in December.
Industrial nations at Copenhagen pledged $ 30 billion in aid in 2010-2012 to help poorer nations start environment friendly development programmes and adapt to the worst consequences of climate change.
However, de Boer and non-governmental organisations say developing nations remain skeptical if the money will come through and if it is additional or simply relabelled funds already pledged for other purposes.
“The finance part has not been solved,” Greenpeace expert Wendel Trio told The Associated Press.
Oxfam said it is becoming clear that rich nations want to hand out much of the money as loans instead of grants, thereby saddling developing nations with new debts for a problem largely caused by industrial countries.
“It’s like crashing your neighbour’s car and then offering a loan to cover the damages,” Oxfam’s Antonio Hill said in a statement.
The European Union tried to dispel such doubts stressing that the euro 2.4 billion ($ 3 billion) a year it promised in Copenhagen have been confirmed by finance ministers, and about 70 per cent will be handed out as grants.
The Bonn talks center on a new, rather sketchy text proposal for a global climate deal expected to be finalised in 2011. Because it includes elements of the so-called Copenhagen Accord - a political declaration brokered by U.S. president Barack Obama - some countries have voiced suspicion.
The most important point of contention still is how much industrialised nations and large emerging powers like China, India, or Brazil contribute to reducing emissions worldwide.
Nations in Copenhagen agreed that global temperatures must not rise by more than 2 degrees Celsius as compared to preindustrial levels. Scientists say that means global emissions must at least be halved by 2050.