Energy & Environment

Peru minister: US might make ‘significant’ donation to climate fund

The U.S. might make a substantial contribution in November to an international fund that helps poor nations fight climate change, according to Peruvian Foreign Minister Gonzalo Gutierrez.

Gutierrez said Secretary of State John Kerry told him earlier this week that the U.S. was seriously considering a major monetary donation to the United Nations Green Climate Fund, Reuters reports.

{mosads}”He says that the U.S. is considering seriously to make a significant announcement, even before the Lima conference, probably next month,” Gutierrez said in a speech on Thursday night at a Washington event.

So far, countries have put $2.3 billion into the fund, which is a crucial negotiating piece for developed nations trying to woo poorer ones to the table for a global climate accord.

The fund was officially launched in 2013, after industrialized nations first pitched it in 2009 during the Copenhagen meeting, setting a target of $100 billion by 2020 for developing countries.

Right now, the fund is falling short of the $10 billion pledge by the end of 2014. The U.S. has yet to contribute.

If the U.S. does add to the pot before the Lima, Peru, conference in December, then global leaders might be able to make real progress before the Paris climate meeting next year.

The Lima conference is seen as a chance for countries to craft a solid draft for a global climate agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions before the Paris meeting, where countries are expected to finalize the accord.

Still, the climate fund might be the one piece that can unravel the negotiation process, experts say.

After President Obama’s speech at the U.N. Climate Summit in New York last month revealed no intentions to contribute to the fund, experts close to negotiations said the road to Paris looked less certain.

“If you ask me what could happen that could blow everything up and cause the Paris talks to collapse,” Robert Stavins, professor for Harvard University’s environmental economics program, told The Hill last month. “It’s the $100 billion commitment that is now on the table.”

Obama would need to go through Congress to feed the fund, but groups like Oxfam America expect a pledge nonetheless.

“The United States has a moral responsibility and economic self-interest in helping get the Green Climate Fund up and running,” Heather Coleman, climate program manager for Oxfam, said in an email on Friday. “As one of the largest economies and emitters of carbon in the world the US’s fair share would be an initial pledge of $4.8 billion.”

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