November 14, 2011 / 10:45 AM / 8 years ago

U.N. chief says it's time to cough up climate cash

DHAKA (Reuters) - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday urged governments in rich nations to work around troubled economic times and scale up donations to a global climate change fund that is at risk of becoming an “empty shell”.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon talks during the international conference on climate change in Dhaka November 14, 2011. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj

The world’s poorest nations are particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels, more extremes of droughts and floods and say rich nations should help them with cash to try to adapt.

Nearly 200 nations agreed at major climate talks last year in Cancun, Mexico, to raise $100 billion annually from 2020 to help poor nations fight climate change. The money would be managed by a Green Climate Fund.

“Even in these difficult times, we cannot afford to delay (mitigation and adaptation programmes warranted by climate change),” Ban said addressing a meeting of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) in the Bangladesh capital, representing nations from Africa, the Asia-Pacific and the Americas.

Ban said most of the money must come from the richest countries. Poorer nations blame wealthy states for the surge in greenhouse gas emissions that scientists say are heating up the atmosphere, threatening crop failures and other disasters.

He said countries should act now to donate to the now empty Green Climate Fund. A U.N. climate conference in Durban, South Africa, from Nov 28 to Dec 9 aims to formally agree the design of the fund and how it will be managed.

“An empty shell is not sufficient and we must fill the shell,” he said. “This is a message I am taking to Durban.”

“We cannot ask the poorest and most vulnerable to bear the costs,” he said, adding that greenhouse gas emissions in 2010 were the highest in mankind’s history.

“Just last week, the International Energy Agency released a report saying we are close to point of no return for staying under two degrees temperature rise,” he said.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said a one-metre rise in sea level could displace 30 million people in her country, a delta nation of more than 150 million on the Bay of Bengal that faces heavy seasonal flooding and intense cyclones.

Reporting By Serajul Quadir; Editing by Anis Ahmed and Ed Lane

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