US refuses to back climate fund blueprint
The US is refusing to sign off on a flagship global climate fund, as already fraught negotiations intensify ahead of next week’s UN climate summit and carbon prices plummet to new lows.
It was already feared that souring economic conditions and next year’s US presidential election would make it difficult for the UN summit - which opens on Monday in Durban, South Africa - to make headway on a new global warming deal before the main provisions of the Kyoto protocol climate treaty expire at the end of 2012.
But officials confirmed on Thursday that the US, backed by Saudi Arabia, has still not agreed to adopt a blueprint for the Green Climate Fund. The fund is one of the few measures to emerge from seven years of talks on how countries should share the burden of cutting greenhouse gas emissions, which risk raising global temperatures to dangerous levels.
First mooted at the 2009 Copenhagen climate summit, the fund is supposed to channel “a significant portion” of the $100bn a year developed countries have promised to mobilise by 2020 to help developing countries fight climate change.
At the same time, the price of carbon permits in the European Union, whose members are virtually the only wealthy countries willing to offer conditional backing for a new phase of the Kyoto pact in Durban, crashed to record lows .