$100 billion per year, enough to save a deal?
Leaders are welcoming the U.S. stating that it agrees to the long term adaptation fund being $100 billion. Yvo de Boer having earlier said that the cablecar had made an unscheduled stop yesterday commented "Hold tight and mind the doors, the cable car is moving again." However while this may start negotiations again it is not enough by itself to get a deal, it needs to kickstart others into action if this bid to save the talks is to work.
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First figure on the table for an adaptation fund.
Long term finance has always been a dealbreaker for the African nations. They need money that is new, and not part of development funding, to help them adapt to climate change. Despite this on Tuesday Ban Ki Moon the UN secretary General had said “I’m not quite sure [we can get a long-term financing number] . . . I don’t think the exact number itself should be all of this Copenhagen deal" and “We can start next year discussing this matter.” Now the U.S. has for the first time said it will "work with other countries to mobilize 100 billion dollars a year by 2020" thereby endorsing a figure for the long term adaptation fund.
This is simply giving a figure from the U.S. point of view, there is as yet no agreement to it from the other developing nations and the U.S. did not say how much of that $100 billion it would provide.
This type of offer is not meant to solve things by itself. The idea is that others will see that the U.S. is willing to move its position so will move their own positions in response, which may in turn allow the U.S. to give a better offer in other areas. The U.S. has not previously had a solid position on the adaptation fund so it is an area where the U.S. can be the one to create the movement. Other countries can now do the same in areas that matter less to them.
Others are unlikely to follow, either because it is the U.S. playing catch up. "It's an important development and very welcome to have the United States on the same page as the U.K. and the EU in terms of long-term climate finance" said a British official, implying that there was no need to move the UK position in response.
The money is welcome but it is not addressing the real issue.
The issue that the world needs U.S. movement on is their emissions reduction targets not the amount of money they give to the adaptation fund. The US has only so far agreed to reduce emissions by a tiny 4% from 1990 levels, a very small figure when compared to other developed nations. The U.S. needs to make its presence felt with a better deal in this area.
It is possible that this money is simply the first step the U.S. is prepared to make. Secretary of State Clinton comes in with a finance initiative and President Obama can tie things up with a bigger commitment on emissions reductions.
The U.S. has offered money but has then gone and made it conditional on more actions from China. Clinton declared “It would be hard to imagine, speaking for the United States, that there could be the level of financial commitment that I have just announced in the absence of transparency from the second biggest emitter[China]... If there is not even a commitment to pursue transparency, that's kind of a deal-breaker for us.”[[http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/clinton-warns-of-deal-breaker-on-100-billion-us-climate-pact/article1403560/]] Adding these kinds of hurdles so late in the negotiations does not help as it means more needs to be worked out before we have really gotten anywhere. If China has not worked out what it can do about transparency in advance this offer could be dead from the beginning as China may not have enough time to work out what it can offer in this area.
It has been known for a long time that the U.S. wants more transparency from China and other developing countries in terms of how the money is spent and their own emissions therefore they must have some kind of response in place for this turn of affairs. China will not want to be the one blamed at the end of the conference if a deal collapses
This move is not enough, either in terms of money or in terms of U.S. offers. As an offer from the U.S. this is too vague - is the U.S. actually pledging any money of its own? instead it is committing to a figure of $100billion for the whole developed world. China has stated "We hold a conservative view on Clinton's climate fund proposal due to lack of clarity on many issues... At first glance, we don't see the U.S has made much progress in its commitments," while the Indian Environment minister Jairam Ramesh said $100 billion a year would "never be enough, but was a start". Even Yvo de Boer admitted "The discussion will have to take place with other parties on whether that money is adequate." [[http://online.wsj.com/article/SB126105402112295373.html?mod=googlenews_wsj]]
$100 billion is pretty close to what was being asked for by Africa and what the EU wanted, if the leaders of the developing world agree to this figure it would be a big step to pinning down one area of the deal.
What do you think?