Leaders of countries such as the Marshall Islands, that are most likely to feel the effects of climate change, are demanding action. Photograph: Alamy. Photo: Alamy

By Suzanne Goldenberg
20 September 2014

(theguardian.com) – Barack Obama will not be pledging any cash to a near-empty fund for poor countries at a United Nations summit on climate change next week, the UN special climate change envoy said on Friday.

The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, has challenged the 125 world leaders attending the 23 September summit to make “bold pledges” to the fund, intended to help poor countries cope with climate change.

The UN has been pressing rich countries to come up with pledges of between $10bn and $15bn.

“We are putting a lot of pressure for them to do it at the summit on the 23rd,” the UN envoy and former Irish president, Mary Robinson, told the Guardian on the sidelines of a US Agency for International Development meeting. But she added: “I know the United States is not going to commit because I’ve asked.”

Obama put climate change at the top of his second term agenda, and the administration unveiled a host of new green measures in the run-up to next week’s meeting, including an initiative to cut the extremely potent greenhouse gas used as a coolant in refrigerators and air conditioners.

Obama’s speech to the summit will showcase those US actions, such as proposed new rules cutting carbon pollution from power plants.

“The president will use his speech at the climate summit to call on other leaders to keep their ambitions high and to work for a strong global framework to cut emissions,” White House adviser John Podesta told a conference call with reporters.

Todd Stern, the state department climate envoy, told the call those measures put Obama in a stronger position to help broker an international climate deal next year.

But cash for the Green Climate Fund – to help poor countries move off fossil fuels and protect their people from rising seas, heat waves, and other consequences of climate change – will not be part of Obama’s agenda at this UN meeting.

The summit is intended to help catalyse action on climate change – and UN officials have said repeatedly it is not a negotiating session.

Instead, the meeting is being seen as a test of willingness of rich and poor countries to buckle down in the next 15 months and do the work needed to reach a deal that will cut greenhouse gas emissions and help insulate the world from effects of climate change. [more]

US will not commit to climate change aid for poor nations at UN summit

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