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With no time to lose: new text at climate talks reveals possible compromise on Global Climate Fund

Heather Allen

Posted December 10, 2010 in Curbing Pollution, Living Sustainably, Moving Beyond Oil, Solving Global Warming

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The Climate negotiators seem to have demonstrated real compromise on the elements of a Green Climate Fund tonight.  The new text has just been issued (5:30 pm Friday December 12th) and it lays out a process to bring forward the Green Climate Fund (previously known as the Global Climate Fund).  The new fund will be a critical part of the agreement countries are hoping to reach tonight in Cancun. My colleague Jake Schmidt explains the package in the new text here.  I laid out some of the elements of the fund in an earlier post here and below I will highlight the areas of compromise in the latest text. 

COP President Patricia Espinosa made it clear in her remarks just now that parties are still negotiating – so its not clear how this will shake out.  But the spirit of compromise is once again in the air.  After she announced this text she received about 5 minutes of applause and even a standing ovation. 

espinosa ovation.JPG  

With tears in her eyes, perhaps explained as gratitude for the overwhelming demonstration of support from countries, she closed the plenary and explained we must continue our work.  We are waiting for the next formal plenary at 8pm.  (Sorry for the blurry photo - but I thought it was worth it to see her expression).

Getting Started

Early arrangements for the fund are to be designed by a ‘transitional committee’ and the draft  terms of reference are included in an annex.  The committee would be comprised of 40 members (15 from the developed world and 25 from developing country parties).  The fund would be established as part of the financial mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.  It would be arranged through agreements between the Conference of the Parties and the Green Climate Fund to ensure that it is accountable to and under the guidance of the COP. 

 Fund Management

Governance of the fund would be conducted by a board of 24 members; 50% from  developed and developing nations each.   The agreement invites the World Bank to serve as the trustee for the fund for three years before a review. While support for operations will be provided by the UNFCCC secretariat.

So it looks like many of the elements of concern have been balanced – the Board will be split half and half with equal representation between the developed and the developing world but the transitional committee to establish the fund will be made up of primarily developing country parties, which reflects interests of vulnerable countries like small island states, African states and Least Developed Countries.  The question of the  World Bank as a trustee remains to be resolved, but it may be one of the final details to refine.

The hallways are abuzz with conversation about the balance of this compromise – hopefully we will see negotiators maintain the positive spirit and move this newest proposal forward along with the other key elements tonight.  As Espinosa said again this evening – we are running out of time.

______________________________________________________________________

Update Saturday December 11, 2011.

The countries agreed on the proposed text and the UNFCCC has established the Fund.  The decision to establish the fund as part of the whole package of elements laid out in the text was critical to helping many countries to support the agreement.  After a highly emotional late night, its a relief that the UNFCCC has demonstrated signifcant progress and a path forward on climate finance to facilitate critical actions on adaptation, reducing emissions and transfering clean techonolgy.  For a complete summary of the package deal my colleauge Alvin Lin's analysis is available here.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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