Australia Backs Green Fund for New Climate Deal
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Australia has supported the creation of a US$10 billion a year green fund to help vulnerable countries and called for a new legal treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol at the Copenhagen climate conference on Tuesday.
Australian diplomats backed by the "umbrella group", which includes the US, Canada, Japan and Russia, supported a "substantial increase in financial and investment flows" as part of a new climate deal to start in 2012.
Australian ambassador Louise Hand said, "There is an emerging consensus that a core element of the Copenhagen accord should be to mobilize US$10 billion a year by 2012 to support adaptation and mitigation in developing countries, particularly the most vulnerable and least developed countries that could be destabilized by the impacts of climate change."
This reiterated Australia's support of the "fast-track" green fund at the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Trinidad.
In another session, Australia said the umbrella group would like to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which contains targets from industrialized countries, with a single document that covers everyone.
This is a highly contentious point - developing countries want the Kyoto Protocol to be kept as it recognizes developed countries historic responsibility for climate change, but the world cannot achieve the emissions reductions demanded by scientists without action from emerging economies. In addition the US Congress will not ratify the Kyoto Protocol.
Australia has signaled it will be part of an extended Kyoto Protocol if that is what the conference decides. It has previously won praise for its proposal for a "Kyoto plus" model that would include both rich nations emissions targets and green policy commitments by developing nations.
(Xinhua News Agency December 8, 2009)