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Tue Sep 02 16:03:07 SAST 2014

Britain pledges aid to help poor nations deal with global warming

Sapa-AFP | 05 December, 2012 11:31
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon talks during the opening ceremony of the plenary session of the high-level segment of the 18th session of the Conference of Parties (COP18) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Doha December 4, 2012.
Image by: FADI AL-ASSAAD / REUTERS

Britain became the first country at UN climate talks in Doha to pledge money to help poor countries deal with global warming as negotiators battled to thrash out a funding deal.

The secretary of state for energy, Ed Davey, said London would spend about 1.8 billion pounds ($2.9 billion) from an international climate fund over the next three years, which meant "our climate finance will be 50% higher in 2014/15 than it was in 2010/2011".

"That is a really big commitment to... public finance going ahead and I hope other countries will match that long-term commitment," he told reporters.

Poor countries at the Doha talks want developed nations to show how they intend keeping a promise to raise funding for poor nations' climate mitigation to $100 billion per year by 2020 - up from a total $30 billion in 2010-2012.

The developing world says it needs a total of $60 billion from now to 2015 to cope with worsening drought, flood, storms and rising seas.

The British move was welcomed by NGOs and European climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard who tweeted: "UK first EU member state who pledges post-2012 climate finance: €2.2 billion."

The EU itself has not made a pledge, but Hedegaard has hinted that individual member states will make announcements in Doha.

It was not clear if the British pledge was additional to an existing 2.9 billion pounds earmarked for climate aid between 2011 and 2015.

"While the details remain hazy and need to be clarified this week, Oxfam is pleased that the UK has stated in Doha that they will be increasing their climate finance next year," the NGO said in a statement.

Christian Aid, which speaks for some of the world's poorest communities, welcomed the announcement and called on other developed countries to follow suit.

Davey said his country was on track to meet its 1.5-billion-pound pledge to poor country climate funding by the end of 2012, "and we are absolutely committed to delivering our fair share of the global long-term goal to jointly mobilise $100 billion per year" for this purpose.

Britain would fund projects to stimulate renewable power generation in Africa and help bolster poor communities against the effects of climate change through improved water resource management.

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