December 9, 2009 7:39 pm

US rules out climate aid for China

China will receive no significant funding from the US to combat climate change, the US delegation leader at the Copenhagen conference vowed on Wednesday.

The statement, which shocked many negotiators, was part of a broader US attack on China and other developing countries for not promising deeper concessions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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“I do not envision public funds, certainly not from the US, going to China. We would intend to direct our public funds to the neediest countries,” said Todd Stern, special envoy for climate change. He said China was wealthy enough to fund its own efforts, and firmly rejected the idea that the US and other developed countries owed “reparations” for past emissions.

China has led developing countries in demanding funds from rich nations to help them cut emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change as the price of forging a deal on the climate.

Chinese officials did not respond when asked about financing but demanded more US emissions cuts.

Other developing nations accused the west of pushing an “unfair and inequitable” deal. They insisted that they needed stronger financial support to adopt green technologies.

The sharply worded statements signalled an intensification of the UN negotiations in the Danish capital, which are trying to forge a fresh agreement on global warming.

Lumumba Di-Aping, the Sudanese head of the G77 group of developing countries, accused the US, Europe and their allies of attempting a “Bretton Woods takeover” of negotiations – meaning using the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He said they were trying to “destroy the balance of obligations” between developed and developing worlds.

The industrialised world had a “historical responsibility” to take the biggest share of the burden.

China would account for 50 per cent of the growth in carbon dioxide emissions in the next 20 years and produce 60 per cent more greenhouse gases than the US by 2020, Mr Stern said.

The UK has led a small group of countries including Mexico, Norway and Australia to try to find a compromise on funding emissions cuts in poor countries. Their proposal, which originated with Mexico, would see all countries, including big emerging economies such as China and excluding only the world’s poorest nations, pay into a fund that would be disbursed to the most needy.

Leading countries have yet to respond to the proposal, which will be discussed at the talks.

More than 100 heads of state and government, including Barack Obama, US president, are due to attend the final day of the conference on December 18.

Mr Stern said that while a binding treaty was out of reach in Copenhagen, the US wanted negotiations to move “full speed ahead” towards a legal text as soon as possible.

There was no chance of the US joining the Kyoto protocol – the international climate change deal struck in 1997 – but there were parts of the Kyoto process that the US would agree to as part of a deal. Many developing countries are pushing for the Kyoto protocol to be kept alive as part of a new treaty.

“We’re not going to do Kyoto and we’re not going to do Kyoto with another name,” said Mr Stern.

Anders Turesson, chief negotiator for Sweden, holder of the rotating European Union presidency, acknowledged that “some problems are emerging” in the negotiations, which he said were suffering from a “lack of trust”.

EU officials complained that China and other developing countries were making it hard for developed countries to negotiate among themselves by insisting that key talks took place within the Kyoto process, from which the US is excluded.

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