COPENHAGEN Four nations proposed guiding principles for "green funds" on Wednesday, hoping to end deadlock at U.N. talks on ways to manage billions of dollars to help the poor cope with global warming.
"Financing will need to be scaled up significantly and urgently, starting fast and rising over time," Britain, Australia, Mexico and Norway said in a joint submission to the December 7-18 meeting in Copenhagen on a new U.N. climate pact.
They said that at least 50 percent of any public finance should go to helping developing countries adapt to warming such as droughts, floods or rising sea levels, along with funds to help curb rising emissions.
But a document by the four nations did not set any figure for total funds to help developing nations. The United Nations says that it wants $10 billion a year for 2010-12 to help kick-start a deal with far more cash toward 2020.
It estimates that the total bill for fighting global warming may reach $300 billion a year in the long run, such as shifting away from fossil fuels toward green energies such as wind or solar power.
"We need predictable long-term funding," said Hanne Bjursrom, a Norwegian cabinet minister who heads the Norwegian delegation. "But this isn't a document that says 'this and this is how it should be done'."
She said the paper marked progress because it was proposed by three developed nations with Mexico, one of the richest nations among developing nations.
Disputes over who should pay the costs are one of the main causes of friction at the U.N. talks, along with splits about how far developed nations should cut emissions by 2020. Poor nations want much deeper cuts than those on offer.
The document noted that Mexico has in the past suggested that all countries should pay into a fund that would be raised based on factors including gross domestic product, population, and use of carbon dioxide.
The document also mentioned a Norwegian proposal that some carbon emission allowances could be auctioned off to raise cash.
It said that there was an "emerging consensus" that any funds should be overseen by a high-level board with equal representation of poor and rich nations.
Developing countries accuse the rich of seeking to tie too many strings onto handouts. Rich nations want to ensure they have good oversight of donor funds.
(Editing by Dominic Evans)