Fiona Harvey Money, money, money: The EU’s ‘fast start’ financing offer

Well, it’s Denmark and not Sweden, but a bit of Abba rarely goes amiss.

The developing nations at the Copenhagen talks are constantly wondering aloud what it must be like to live in a rich man’s world. They – at least, most of them – have put forward very convincing arguments as to why they need aid to both cope with the effects of climate change and to take actions to curb their emissions.

But although developed countries freely profess to be convinced, so far they have done little to act on this. Few have come up with any money for the poor world so far.

What developing countries need most is “fast start” financing of $10bn a year for the next three years.

At last, though, Europe has answered their calls. The European Union agreed on Friday to offer €2.4bn a year to developing countries, about a third of the money needed.

Yvo de Boer, the UN’s top climate change official, welcomed the annoucement as a “huge encouragement” and called on other countries to follow suit swiftly.

But the green campaigning groups were having none of it. They excoriated Europe for the feebleness of its efforts. Not only was the amount too little, but they were outraged that some of the financial assistance is likely to come out of the existing overseas development aid budgets.

The EU regards this as unfair. As Anders Turesson, chief negotiator for Sweden, pointed out, many countries’ budgets for at least the next year are already set,  and governments have to work within them.

Whether developing countries are convinced by this remains to be seen.

Related links:

The EU’s €15bn for developing countries: A turning point, or more of the same? (FT Energy Source)