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UN green fund to seek cash in November; poor want $15 billion

Source: Reuters - Wed, 2 Jul 2014 13:50 GMT
Author: Reuters
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A woman transports a drum after filling it with free drinking water supplied by a municipal corporation water tanker at a slum on a hot summer day in New Delhi, June 16, 2014. REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee
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* Green fund seen intended to unlock global climate deal

* After Oslo talks, pledging conference planned in November

By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent

OSLO, July 2 (Reuters) - A U.N. fund to help developing nations fight global warming is on track to start raising cash in November, with poor nations seeking $15 billion, officials said on Wednesday.

"Now it's time to mobilise money," Hela Cheikhrouhou, executive director of the Green Climate Fund, told Reuters after two days of talks in Oslo among more than 20 nations about the legal details of cash pledges.

"What matters is that we raise as much as possible as early as possible with the least strings attached as possible."

The fund, agreed in 2010 but tied down by years of wrangling about its design, would hold a first pledging conference by donors in the second half of November, before an annual meeting of environment ministers in Peru in December, she said.

The fund aims to help poor nations cut greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to more floods, droughts, heatwaves and rising sea levels. It is widely seen as vital to a U.N. deal due in Paris in late 2015 to curb rising greenhouse gas emissions.

Developing nations said last month they wanted $15 billion in pledges from the rich this year to fund projects such as solar power, geothermal energy or ensuring water supplies.

AIM IS $100 BILLION

Rich nations gave developing nations $10 billion in climate aid a year from 2010 to 2012 and aim to raise it to $100 billion from 2020. Sapped by years of austerity, they have not mapped out how they will raise the amounts in the years up to 2020.

Cheikhrouhou said the fund so far has $55 million, largely for its own administration and to help countries plan, including $10 million from Seoul and $23 million from Germany. She said the fund was primarily seeking cash grants rather than loans.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Boerge Brende told Reuters that Oslo would unveil its preliminary pledge for the fund at a summit on climate change organised by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York on Sept. 23.

He said Norway, rich from offshore oil, was giving close to $1 billion a year in climate aid and would make a "substantial contribution" to the fund. He declined to give numbers.

"Financing is a prerequisite for having the developing world as part of a global compact" he said. Cheikhrouhou said that, as far as she knew, Norway was the only nation so far to say it would promise cash at Ban's summit.

Many developed nations are likely to be reluctant to pledge cash before U.S. elections in November indicate whether climate change will be a priority for U.S. lawmakers in the last two years of Barack Obama's presidency.

More than 100 environmental groups wrote to the fund last month urging it to reject fossil fuel projects such as coal-fired power plants and focus instead on renewable energy.

Cheikhrouhou said the fund's mandate was to find ways to cut emissions of greenhouse gases. So far "we haven't gone into any discussion about eligible technologies", she said. (Reporting by Alister Doyle; editing by Andrew Roche)

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