UN postpones "green fund" climate talks to April

OSLO Fri Mar 4, 2011 12:03am IST

A man walks past a sign by Oxfam at the Cancunmesse convention center where climate talks are taking place in Cancun December 1, 2010. REUTERS/Gerardo Garcia/Files

A man walks past a sign by Oxfam at the Cancunmesse convention center where climate talks are taking place in Cancun December 1, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Gerardo Garcia/Files

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OSLO (Reuters) - The United Nations postponed until April on Thursday a 40-nation meeting due to start designing a green fund to help poor nations fight climate change, missing a March deadline amid disagreements about who should attend.

Groups of Asian and Latin American and Caribbean nations have yet to decide their delegates for the first meeting of a so-called Transitional Committee, which had been due to meet in Mexico this month to work on a "Green Climate Fund".

"The first meeting of the Transitional Committee...scheduled to be held on 14-15 March in Mexico City...has been postponed until the latter part of April 2011," the Bonn-based Climate Change Secretariat said in a statement.

"Further information will be provided soon," it said. Delegates say that many nations wanted to attending the talks, seeing it as a chance to gain early influence over the fund.

The fund, under which aid flows are meant to reach $100 billion a year by 2020, was agreed by governments in Cancun, Mexico, in December as part of a deal that the United Nations said reignited "a beacon of hope" for tackling global warming.

The fund was part of a package including steps to protect tropical forests and share clean technologies. It set a goal of limiting limit any rise in temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times.

Among the few firm deadlines set in the Cancun Agreements was that the transitional committee should hold its first meeting by the end of March 2011. Asian nations have said that they will be unable to decide delegates until early April.

Rising aid is meant to help developing nations curb their greenhouse gas emissions by shifting from fossil fuels towards renewable energies and to help them adapt to the impacts of heatwaves, droughts, floods, storms and rising sea levels.

Earlier on Thursday in Tokyo, Christiana Figueres, head of the climate change secretariat, said that a separate meeting of ministers in Mexico this month would discuss the green fund as well as the work agenda for this year's U.N. climate talks.

She said that the work on the green fund would start despite wrangling between rich and poor nations over the future of the Kyoto Protocol, which obliges almost 40 developed nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions until 2012.

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