African Group Proposes New Climate Finance Deal

African countries scale back amount of money they say will be necessary to cope with climate change

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi (file photo)
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi (file photo)

At a climate conference in Copenhagen, African countries have scaled back the amount of money they say will be necessary to cope with climate change.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi addressed the Copenhagen conference Wednesday on behalf of the Africa group.

Speaking on finance - one of the key stumbling blocks at the U.N. climate conference - Mr. Meles outlined the demands of the African nations.

"I support the establishment of a start-up fund of $10 billion per annum for the years of 2010-2012," he said.

He said in the long term much more will be needed.

"Funding for adaptation and mitigation should start by 2013 to reach up to $50 billion per annum by 2015 and $100 billion per annum by 2020," he said.

Mr. Meles' statement comes on the ninth day of climate talks in the Danish capital Copenhagen. The goal of the summit is to come up with a global agreement on how to reign in climate change.

At the center of negotiations lies two key questions. First, to what extent will countries cut their green house gas emissions and second, how much money will go to poor countries in order to help them cope with climate change.

African nations had said they would need double the $100 billion a year that is now being discussed to help them cope with the effects of climate change.

Barry Coates is executive director of Oxfam New Zealand. He says he thinks Africans have put the new lower figure forward in order to ensure a deal will be reached. But he says he doesn't think it will be enough to help vulnerable nations adapt to climate change.
"I think there is an attempt to try and get to some kind of agreement. It is disappointing that that means that there won't be the kind of funding that's needed - particularly for the vulnerable countries," he said.

And he adds mechanisms need to be put in place to ensure that money is allocated specifically for climate change adaptation.

"It's very important to define additionally very carefully. So the funding for climate change is additional to aid, so it doesn't end up essentially trading money from one pocket to another," he said.

African leaders are due to meet with European leaders, including British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, late Wednesday,

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