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Fossil fuel subsidies could transfer to $100B climate fund

By Juliet Eilperin

COPENHAGEN--Obama officials have suggested to environmental activists that money currently going to subsidize fossil fuel industries could provide a significant part of a $100 billion annual fund for poor countries to combat global warming, which the U.S. and EU have committed to build by 2020.

Industrialized nations currently spend $60 billion a year on these subsidies, but agreed in September to phase them out.

"That's a huge part of what can finance this," said Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope, who met with Clinton and the U.S. delegation Thursday morning in Copenhagen for what were described as private discussions.

He added that while the U.S. pledge does not specify the same funding mechanisms outlined in the joint proposal Ethiopia and France put forth Wednesday, the fact that they're "equally generous" should help broker a compromise. Together, Pope said, "it gives these negotiations, by far, their biggest head of steam, and the key was to tie transparency to funding."

But key issues in the negotiations remain, including the procedural question of whether to continue with the Kyoto Protocol as the basis of negotiations and how the U.S. can convince other countries it will make ambitious emissions cuts over the next decade.

Carter Roberts, president and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund, emphasized that developing countries are looking for "a commitment by President Obama to make climate legislation his top priority for the new year."


Juliet Eilperin

 |  December 17, 2009; 7:55 AM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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