Tuesday, December 01, 2015

The cost of climate change: Cold, hard cash sought for support of Obama’s deal

Ugandan Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa was explicit earlier this year when asked what it would take for developing countries to sign up for the emerging U.S.-led climate deal: “Money.” His candor was recounted in an April email between two of the Obama administration’s top global warming officials, who called the succinct wisdom from Mr. Kutesa — at the time the president of the U.N. General Assembly — the “best answer of [the] night.” Indeed, as Todd Stern, the State Department’s top climate official, and Brian Deese, President Obama’s top climate adviser, are trying to rally a deal ahead of a major meeting in Paris that kicks off Monday, it’s becoming clear that any diplomatic breakthrough will be far less about converting hearts and minds than it will be about finding enough money to seal the agreement. That payoff will come in the form of the Green Climate Fund, the U.N.’s green bank, to which the world’s rich countries are supposed to donate $100 billion a year beginning in 2020, with the money going to the developing world, where it is supposed to be split between converting economies to green energy and helping mitigate the worst effects of changing temperatures. “It’s not about climate. It never was,” said Christopher Horner, a researcher who obtained the Obama administration email detailing Mr. Kutesa’s stance. “All they want is wealth transfers, for the poor in rich countries to pay the rich in poor countries.”...more

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