`Fast-start finance` key to climate pact: India

India has voiced disappointment over the US contribution of just USD 1.8 billion so far as part of a USD 30 billion pledge aimed at helping the poorest countries fight global warming.

Cancun: Emphasising that "fast-start finance"
was a vital part of any "balanced agreement" at the UN climate
talks here, India has voiced disappointment over the American
contribution of just USD 1.8 billion so far as part of a USD
30 billion pledge aimed at helping the poorest countries fight
global warming.

"The world`s economic machine, the world`s preeminent
power has committed 1.8 billion dollars in the first year (of
a three-year commitment period of USD 30 billion) ...out of
which 400 million gives export credit," Environment Minister
Jairam Ramesh told reporters after here last evening for the
climate talks.

"It is deeply deeply deeply disappointing," he said.
"If the United States is going to commit just USD 1.8 billion
in the first year it doesn`t augur well for fast-start
finance," Ramesh said.

The contentious climate meeting in Denmark last year
yielded the non-binding Copenhagen Accord, which called for
limiting rise of global temperature to 2 degrees, USD 100
billion in long-term finance to developing countries and USD
30 billion in short-term finance to the most vulnerable

The Americans have said that they can only announce
figures one year at a time since US Congress needs to approve
the budget for every year.

Ramesh underlined that one of the reasons that the BASIC
countries -- Brazil, India, China and South Africa -- had
agreed to the Copenhagen Accord with the United States was the
fast-start finance.

The BASIC countries, however, are not candidates for
money but could still receive the funds through different
bilateral deals and other schemes like the forest saving
programme such as REDD+.

"The single biggest disappointment for me has been
fast-start finance," Ramesh said.

"The only solid money we can have clarity on is the 4
million dollars that has been committed for the REDD+
Unless that is rectified it is unlikely we will get a
balanced package (at the Cancun meet)," he said. Ramesh also expressed concern over Japan`s announcement
that it will not be part of a potential second commitment
period under the Kyoto Protocol after its first commitment
period expires in 2012.

Under the first period, rich nations committed to cut
emissions by an average 5 per cent over 1990 levels.

Japan wants emerging economies like India and China
to take legally binding emission cuts. Further, the US is also
not part of the treaty, which only covers 27 per cent of
global carbon emissions.

"I was quite taken aback by the uncharacteristically
categorical statement of the Japanese on the Kyoto Protocol,"
Ramesh said.

The Indian minister, however, signalled optimism that
some key decisions can be made in the week ahead.

"There have been some clouds but I`m sure in the next
week, given the proactive approach on all sides, we will be
able to arise at a set of operationally meaningful COP
(Conference of Parties) decisions," he said.

"We are not anticipating any big agreements here."
Ramesh is also scheduled to meet US climate change envoy
Todd Stern on the margins of the climate talks here.


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