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U.N. panel says $100 bln climate aid goal feasible

OSLO (Reuters) - A U.N. advisory group agreed on Tuesday that it was feasible to raise a planned $100 billion a year in climate aid from 2020 and Norway’s Prime Minister said penalties on greenhouse gas emissions would be a key source.

Jens Stoltenberg, who co-chaired a final meeting of top experts in Addis Ababa with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, said the group would publish its report with recommendations to the United Nations in early November.

“We have concluded that it is challenging but feasible, achievable to raise the $100 billion,” Stoltenberg said in a telephone interview to the Reuters Global Climate and Alternative Energy Summit.

“Carbon pricing has to be one of the major sources of finance,” he said, adding there were many options, such as taxes on emissions of greenhouse gases from use of fossil fuels, or ways of tapping carbon markets.

He declined to give exact details. Sources under consideration have included new taxes on plane tickets or on bunker oil for international shipping.

Rich nations agreed at the U.N. summit in Copenhagen in December 2009 to a goal of raising $100 billion a year from 2020 to help developing countries curb their greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to floods, droughts, mudslides and rising sea levels.

But Copenhagen did not agree exactly where the money would come from. No developed nations -- many of them facing austerity cuts at home -- have since made firm long-term offers of cash.

The U.N. advisory group was appointed by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in March to come up with ideas. It has met three times -- in London, New York and Addis Ababa.

“This will not be a blueprint with an exact formula of how exactly to raise $100 billion,” Stoltenberg said.

GUIDELINES

“We will provide some analytical work, some guidelines and narrow down the different options which we believe are the most realistic and most viable,” he said.

“We have to combine different sources of finance, we need both public and private and we need also new sources of finance,” he said.

Stoltenberg said he hoped the group’s agreement that it was possible to raise $100 billion would help struggling U.N. talks on a new climate deal. Environment ministers meet in Cancun, Mexico, for annual talks on Nov 29-December 10.

He called the issue of climate finance one of the most challenging of the talks.

Rich nations also promised in Copenhagen to provide funds “approaching $30 billion” for 2010-12. While pledged totals are around $30 billion, poor nations say that much of the cash is recycled and fails a test of being “new and additional.”

Editing by Noah Barkin

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