Japan pledges $400 million climate change loan to Indonesia

Excavating machineries are seen at an open-cast coal mine in Kalimantan, Indonesia, June 5, 2008. REUTERS/Jackie Cowhig

HUA HIN, Thailand (Reuters) - Japan, the world’s fifth-biggest air polluter, offered a $400 million yen-denominated loan Sunday to Indonesia, the world’s third-largest air polluter, to help tackle global warming, Japanese officials said.

The loan was part of the “Hatoyama Initiative” unveiled last month by Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, in which Tokyo will provide financial and technical assistance to developing countries to help address the problem of climate change.

Hatoyama offered the loan during a meeting with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific summit in the Thai beach town of Hua Hin.

The initiative was originally proposed by Hatoyama’s predecessor and amended by his government as the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat wants developed nations to come up with at least $10 billion in initial funding.

Final details of Japan’s new funding initiative may not be ready in time for the last formal U.N. negotiating session before the Copenhagen climate meeting in early November.

The loan offer to Indonesia came a day after Hatoyama urged his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh to make an international commitment on climate change, saying it was vital for a U.N. deal due in Copenhagen in December.

Disputes over 2020 emissions cuts by developed nations and the amounts of cash to help developing nations combat global warming are among the main sticking points in sluggish U.N. talks meant to end in Denmark on December 18 with a new treaty.

Developing nations led by China and India say the rich need to make cuts averaging at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 to avoid the worst of climate change.

Reporting by Yoko Nishikawa; Writing by Nopporn Wong-Anan; Editing by John Ruwitch