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Small economies make Major Economies Forum list

By Juliet Eilperin

The Major Economies Forum--the occasional meeting that tries to hash out international climate policy in an informal setting--invited some small economies to attend the session the U.S. hosted Sunday night and Monday.

Colombia, Yemen and Grenada were there, along with the 17 usual attendees and a representative from the United Nations. This amounted to a peace offering, because the U.S. and other industrialized countries came under fire in Copenhagen for cutting deals without an adequate number of representatives from the developing world.

Each of the countries represented a certain constituency: Yemen is the head of the G-77, the group that represents developing nations within the U.N.; Grenada represents small island nations; and Colombia brings the concerns of Latin American countries to the table, though it's far friendlier to the U.S. than critics such as Bolivia and Ecuador.

Denmark, which chaired last year's U.N.-sponsored talks, also participated in the session.

Both Deputy National Security Adviser Michael Froman and U.S. special climate envoy Todd Stern said the meeting was helpful, but did not divulge many details on how much progress the delegates made. Indian environment minister Jairam Ramesh and several others had to participate via videoconference because of flight problems stemming from last week's volcanic eruption in Iceland.

"Today's conversation was candid and constructive," Froman said. "There were areas where there was convergence and areas where further work remains to be done."

Stern said much of the talk focused on the "fast-start" funding rich countries have pledged to give poor ones between this year and 2012 to cope with climate change. The U.S. even handed out a fact sheet detailing its pledge.

"There is an appreciation, really by everybody in the room, that it is important to make good on that commitment," Stern said of the short term funding.


Juliet Eilperin

 |  April 19, 2010; 6:46 PM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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