U.S., Denmark cut climate aid after summit: Bolivia

BONN, Germany (Reuters) - Bolivia accused the United States and Denmark on Saturday of cutting aid to the South American country as punishment for its fierce opposition to the Copenhagen Accord for fighting global warming.

A United Nations flag is raised at the United Nations multi-agency compound near Herat, November 5, 2009. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl

Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua and Sudan were among the strongest opponents at the summit in Denmark of the Copenhagen Accord, now backed by about 120 nations.

They said its goal of limiting any rise in average global temperatures to less than 2 Celsius (3.6 F) over pre-industrial age levels would cause catastrophe for millions.

“Some concrete projects have been canceled,” Bolivia’s chief delegate Pablo Solon told reporters during April 9-11 talks among 175 nations in Bonn seeking ways to get U.N. climate negotiations back on track after the fractious December summit.

“We have received a cut of aid ... That is the case of Denmark and that is the case of the United States,” he said. “We think they are very unfair, we think this is a way of punishing.”

He said that canceled U.S. projects in Bolivia, whose leftist government is often at odds with the United States, totaled about $3-3.5 million. He did not have a number for the alleged cut in Danish aid.

U.S. Climate Envoy Todd Stern was quoted by the Washington Post on Friday as saying that the United States would give priority to countries backing the Accord. It had denied $3 million to Bolivia and $3.5 million to Ecuador.

Related Coverage

Denmark has not linked aid to acceptance of the Copenhagen Accord. But a draft Danish government aid plan presented on March 19 foresees a general shift in development aid to help the poorest nations in Africa.

The three-page Accord holds out the goal of $10 billion a year in climate aid for developing nations from 2010-12, rising to $100 billion from 2020 to help cope with droughts, floods, mudslides and rising sea levels.

The text makes no mention of aiding only signatories among developing nations.

A Sudanese delegate said his nation had not felt any impact on aid but predicted pressure on many developing nations to sign up to the accord. “We will see in the next few months a checkbook diplomacy,” Lumumba Di-Aping told Reuters.

Lumumba angered many in the final night at Copenhagen by making a veiled allusion to the deaths of millions of Jews in the Holocaust in a warning that millions of Africans faced “incineration” from climate change.

He did not express regret but conceded that “there is no comparison” between Hitler’s policies and climate change. But he said “inaction is not morally defensible.”

Two more climate meetings are set this year, in June and December. Negotiators would decide on Sunday how many extra meetings were needed, with at least two more sessions expected.

Delegates also would decide whether to give the chair of a key negotiating group the mandate to draft by mid-May a new text on climate action, and if so what past deals to base it on.

Separately, Mexico offered a flexible plan for U.N. talks in 2010 ahead of the next annual meeting in Cancun, Mexico from November 29 to December 10, seeking to avoid disputes in Copenhagen which failed to agree a treaty.

“We don’t want the same group of countries meeting again and again,” Mexico’s chief climate negotiator Fernando Tudela said.

“Depending on the subject matter, the parties that would participate would be different,” he told reporters. “It means a kind of gymnastics of informal consultations.”

Editing by Michael Roddy