Canada and UK set to back Green Climate Fund

Hopes for global climate agreement rise as UN-backed bank nears $10 billion fund-raising target

(Pic: Number 10/Flickr)

(Pic: Number 10/Flickr)

By Ed King

Leaders in Ottawa and London are the latest to say they will offer financial support to the Green Climate Fund, a sign of new momentum behind efforts to agree a UN emissions reduction deal.

Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper signalled his support for the GCF late on Sunday night, while his UK counterpart David Cameron is expected to announced a $1 billion pledge later this week.

The offers are likely to see the GCF near a $10 billion capitalisation target for 2014 after a week where the US and Japan committed $3 billion and $1.5 billion respectively.

Speaking to reporters Harper, a longstanding critic of efforts to secure a global climate agreement, said last week’s US-China pact to curb greenhouse gas emissions signalled a Un deal could now be possible.

“For the first time, that is actually starting to take shape,” the Globe and Mail reported him as saying.

The Financial Times says the UK’s contribution could be announced at a GCF pledging conference in Berlin later this week.

According to Treasury documents seen by RTCC, the UK has already set aside £969mn ($1.5bn) for climate funding between 2015/2016, which prime minister Cameron suggested could be allocated to the GCF.

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“Britain has already set aside a substantial amount of money for green climate funds,” he said.

“All we have to do now is to decide how much of that already-set-aside money to put into this specific fund.

“As ever in these things, Britain will play its part and will play a very positive part.”

Canada’s move is likely to pile yet more pressure on Australian leader Tony Abbott, who regarded his fellow conservative Harper as a kindred spirit in the battle against further climate laws.

Both countries hold vast fossil fuel reserves. Australia is the world’s fifth largest coal exporter, while Canada has the world’s third largest oil reserves, underpinned by the Alberta tar sands.

On Friday the Republican-dominated House of Representatives passed a motion to approve construction of Keystone XL, a pipeline that would transport oil from Alberta to Gulf Coast refineries.

If approved by the Senate – which will be controlled by the Democrats until January – then president Obama would have to decide to allow it to pass or to veto.

Speaking before he left the G20 meeting in Brisbane Obama said he would allow the “process to play out”, and said climate concerns would determine his decision.

“I have my opinion about this which is that one major determinant whether we should approve a pipeline shipping Canadian oil, to world markets, not to the United States, is does it contribute to greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change.”

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