NEW YORK (Reuters) - The world will fail to agree to control emissions of global warming pollution this year in Copenhagen unless rich countries fund billions of dollars in annual climate aid to poor nations, a U.N. adviser said.
“If there’s no money on the table, no agreement,” Jeffrey Sachs, an adviser to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and head of Columbia University’s Earth Institute, told reporters on Wednesday.
Nearly 200 countries are set to meet in Copenhagen in December to reach a successor to the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, which runs out in 2012.
Sachs said rich countries need to come up with tens of billions of dollars per year in aid. This would help developing countries mitigate greenhouse gas pollution and adapt to consequences of global warming like more droughts, flooding, and heat waves predicted by the U.N.’s climate science panel.
African nations said last month that developing countries would need $267 billion a year by 2020 to cope with climate change.
Sachs said the tens of billions per year should go to programs to help industrializing countries develop renewable electricity such as concentrated solar energy. Water conservation programs and better irrigation would also help them adapt as warming is expected to shrink glaciers, reducing fresh-water supplies in coming decades.
The largest developing country, China, recently surpassed the United States as the top polluter of greenhouse gases. But its per capita emissions are less than a quarter of those from the United States.
Many developed countries believe rich countries should provide funds because they have enjoyed more than a century of industrialization while emitting billions of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Raising the financing during the recession will be no easy task, Sachs said, but some of the money could come from cap-and-trade programs in rich counties. Auctions of permits to pollute greenhouse gases also could provide funds, he said.
But auction funds may not materialize. U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle told reporters on Wednesday most industry permits to emit greenhouse gases under a climate change bill being negotiated in the House of Representatives will initially be given away to companies instead of sold to them.
Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by David Gregorio