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U.N. climate change talks: it’s really all about the money

“Rich countries are still not pledging enough money to begin financing a shift to a cleaner global economy,” reports the Financial Times (FT) in its coverage of the United Nations climate talks in Warsaw that ended with little more than a “vague road map on how to prepare for a global climate pact they’re supposed to adopt in two years.”

Leading into what has now been called an “unsatisfactory summit,” predictions suggestedthe “talks could collapse because of a lack of financial support from rich nations.” Delegates from developing countries, such as Ecuador’s lead negotiator Daniel Ortega, believe “an effective 2015 emissions reduction agreement has to be based on a clear financial package.”

Ortega stated: “I’m not personally expecting any commitment by Warsaw. What we need to have is a clear roadmap of how the discussions of financing will allow us to have a clear idea of commitments by 2015.”

Even low expectations like Ortega’s were dashed when, on the opening day of the climate talks, November 11, Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s government produced a document, outlining its position at the Warsaw conference, which boldly stated: “Federal cabinet has ruled that Australia will not sign up to any new contributions, taxes or charges at this week’s global summit on climate change.” The Australian points out: “This rules out Australia playing any role in a wealth transfer from rich countries to developing nations to pay them to decrease their carbon emissions.” But, perhaps, the most dramatic line in the government document is: Australia “will not support any measures which are socialism masquerading as environmentalism.”

A few days later, November 15, Japan announced that “its emissions would increase slightly rather than fall 25 per cent as promised in 2009.” Japan was struggling to meet its previous emissions promises—which were the most aggressive of any big developed country—even before the Fukushima accident prompted the shutdown of its 50 still-operable nuclear reactors and its corresponding rise in the supplemental use of fossil fuels.

Then on November 20, news came out of England stating that Prime Minister Cameron istelling everyone: “We’ve got to get rid of all this green crap.”

All of this is on the foundation of Todd Stern, the Obama Administration’s chief climate diplomat, dialing back expectations when, during an October 22 speech in London, he addressed U.S. involvement: “an international agreement is by no means the whole answer.” He pointed out “the need to be creative and flexible” and acknowledged the “hard reality” that “no step change in overall levels of public funding from developed countries is likely to come anytime soon.” Stern added: “The fiscal reality of the United States and other developed countries is not going to allow it.”

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Marita Noon

About Marita Noon

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy. Follow her @energyrabbit.

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