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Updated: December 4, 2010 14:06 IST

Fast-start finance key to climate pact: India

PTI
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Activists demonstrate during the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico, on Friday. Photo: AP.
Activists demonstrate during the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico, on Friday. Photo: AP.

Emphasising that “fast-start finance” was a vital part of any “balanced agreement” at the UN climate talks here, India has voiced disappointment over the American contribution of just USD 1.8 billion so far as part of a USD 30 billion pledge aimed at helping the poorest countries fight global warming.

“The world’s economic machine, the world’s pre-eminent power has committed $1.8 billion in the first year (of a three-year commitment period of USD 30 billion) ...out of which $ 400 million gives export credit,” Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh told reporters here last evening after the climate talks.

“It is deeply deeply, deeply disappointing,” he said. .

“If the United States is going to commit just USD 1.8 billion in the first year it doesn’t augur well for fast-start finance,” Mr. Ramesh said.

The contentious climate meeting in Denmark last year yielded the non-binding Copenhagen Accord, which called for limiting the rise of global temperature to two degrees, USD 100 billion in long-term finance to developing countries and USD 30 billion in short-term finance to the most vulnerable countries.

The Americans have said that they can only announce figures one year at a time since U.S. Congress needs to approve the budget for every year.

Mr. Ramesh underlined that one of the reasons that the BASIC countries —— Brazil, India, China and South Africa —— had agreed to the Copenhagen Accord with the United States was the fast-start finance.

The BASIC countries, however, are not candidates for money but could still receive the funds through different bilateral deals and other schemes like the forest saving programme such as REDD+.

“The single biggest disappointment for me has been fast-start finance,” Mr. Ramesh said.

“The only solid money we can have clarity on is the four million dollars that has been committed for the REDD+ Unless that is rectified it is unlikely we will get a balanced package (at the Cancun meet),” he said.

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