Far from the hundreds of billions they're asking for, $3 billion is nonetheless the most impressive pledge yet to aid developing countries in combating climate change. The announcement was made by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown that a 3-year 'fast start' fund will be launched next year with funds from European nations. France, for instance, will contribute $620 million to get the fund off the ground. The move is hoped to advance negotiations in the already tense COP15 climate talks. According to the NY Times,
Yvo de Boer, the head of the United Nations climate office, has called on industrialized nations to give $30 billion fund to the fund in order to help vulnerable countries to begin planning massive engineering projects like building higher sea walls and converting their electricity systems so they rely on low-carbon sources.While the number is still far short of even that, this move could perhaps get the ball rolling, and entice other rich nations to join in (here's looking at you, US). Britain has pledged 1.2 billion British pounds--$2 billion USD--to get the fund started. The US should be able to far exceed that pledge, though getting to the number sought by developing nations like those in G-77 seems unlikely:
Poor countries also are seeking a commitment from the industrialized world to provide long-term finance totaling more than $100 billion each year by the end of the next decade, and have tried to pressure richer countries to do more to cut their own greenhouse gas emissions.Pledges such as the one made by Europe can show that the developed world is serious about helping developing nations adapt to climate change--eyes will be on the US to see how it reacts.