Hillary Clinton delivers 'shot in the arm' to climate talks

By staff writers
December 17, 2009

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s announcement at Copenhagen today that the US will agree to $100 billion per year for the poorest nations, is a shot in the arm to the climate talks, development agency CAFOD has said.

It cames as the Danish presidency of the climate summit sought to play down expectations of a comprehensive deal emerging from the meeting.

Officials said progress could be made, but an international agreement may have to wait until a 2010 meeting in Mexico.

The deadlock in talks at the climate summit has now been broken.

But the summit's hosts, Denmark, had to drop plans to propose new draft texts on Thursday after opposition from many developing nations.

CAFOD’s head of climate finance, Liz Gallagher, said: “Finally the big freeze in Copenhagen is beginning to thaw. We had high expectations of what America could bring to the process, but fears that the reality would fall way short. This money on the table shows strong political will and opens the door to a good deal.

“But it is still not enough to ensure the poorest are guaranteed protection from the worst impacts of climate change. We need clarity on what is public finance and whether this finance will be in addition to existing aid targets. Hillary Rodham Clinton also needs to explain how, and through which institutions, the money will be delivered. But with fewer than 48 hours until the end of these talks, this injection of much-needed commitment brings the negotiations back on track.”

The $100 billion figure is conditional on the UN reaching an ambitious deal in which major economies agree to meaningful, transparent mitigation actions. This finance announcement was in line with Gordon Brown’s speech this morning at the Bella Centre in Copenhagen. But the UK prime minister went further on the details in his proposal, including a pledge of additionality which is vital to the future of the world’s poorest nations.

Following these positive developments at the summit, tonight's meeting of EU heads of state will face high expectations. The European bloc must raise its ambition and commit to a unilateral offer of emissions targets above 30 per cent and ensure this figure is watertight.

Gallagher added: "It's time for the developed nations to step up to the plate. America and the UK have revealed their hand, now others must follow their lead."

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.