State Department official: Time to face ‘hard reality’ on climate aid

State Department climate envoy Todd Stern on Tuesday warned the United States is unlikely to approve a major funding boost to help poor countries battle global warming.

Stern, in a London speech Tuesday, said that since 2010, the U.S. has been providing $2.5 billion a year to help other nations curb emissions and adapt to climate change, and the Obama administration will keep pushing for climate funding.

But then he adds: “Now the hard reality: No step change in overall levels of public funding from developed countries is likely to come anytime soon. The fiscal reality of the United States and other developed countries is not going to allow it.”

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“This is not just a matter of the recent financial crisis; it is structural, based on the huge obligations we face from aging populations and other pressing needs for infrastructure, education, health care and the like. We must and will strive to keep increasing our climate finance, but it is important that all of us see the world as it is,” Stern states.

Still, he argues there’s an “enormous opportunity” to help unlock more private capital.

He also said a hoped-for global climate pact wouldn't work well if it's packed with "strict rules." Click here for the whole speech.

— This story was updated at 1:46 p.m.