UK, Ethiopia to head climate funding effort

Britain and Ethiopia will head a new United Nations panel that aims to secure $100 billion every year by 2020 to help developing nations cut emissions and adapt to climate change, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Friday.

He told a news conference the group would work with governments, central bankers and finance experts to find ways to cooperate with public and private companies in raising money pledged at climate talks in Copenhagen in December.

Although the summit ended without a legal treaty to curb carbon dioxide emissions, leaders of developed countries agreed to support a goal of jointly finding $100 billion a year to help poorer nations.

The money is intended to help them cut emissions, switch to renewable energy and adapt to the impact of global warming, by building new flood defences and other projects.

The panel will be jointly led by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his Ethiopian counterpart Meles Zenawi and will include Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Guyana’s President Bharrat Jagdeo.

The U.N. chief said the panel must urgently find innovative sources of finance to fill the gap between the money currently available and the amount pledged by 2020.

“Developing countries need to move as quickly as possible toward a future of low-emissions growth and prosperity,” he told a joint news conference with Brown and Meles. “Millions of people in Africa and around the globe are suffering from the effects of climate change.”

The U.N. body must implement one of the most important tasks set out in the Copenhagen accord and, if successful, could help ensure emissions peak by 2020, Brown said.

“This cannot all be done from existing taxpayer revenues,” he said in a statement. “So we must examine new sources of finance, both public and private.”

Charity Oxfam said the group must be about action not just words.

“Poor communities on the front lines desperately need funds to begin to cope with a changing climate and reduce their emissions,” said David Waskow, Climate Change Program Director at Oxfam America.

The panel will have members from developed and developing countries who will be appointed for 10 months. The full list of representatives will be announced soon.

They are expected to produce a mid-term report in May and a final report containing recommendations before the next U.N. climate summit in Mexico in December.



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