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Investor Soros Says Divergences over Financing May 'Wreck' Copenhagen Climate Change Talks

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George Sorus, Chairman of Soros Fund Management and Founder of the Open Society Institute, said here on Thursday that the gap between developed countries and developing countries over financing climate change for developing countries would probably "wreck" the Copenhagen climate change talks.

He said at the press conference held at the ongoing UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen that there is no similar agreement on where the money will come from and developed countries are reluctant to make additional financial commitments. Developed countries promised to provide US$10 billion a year for the next three years. "This is unlikely to satisfy the developing countries. I believe this amount could be at least doubled and ensured a longer period of time," he added.

Thus, the 79-year-old investor suggested a proposal to generate additional US$100 billion of IMF special drawing rights (SDR) for climate change relief. That is, developed countries should lend the SDR for 25 years in special green fund serving the developing world.

The fund would jumpstart the forestry land use and agricultural projects because they are the areas that offer the greatest scope for reducing carbon emissions and could produce substantial returns from carbon savings, said Soros.

He proposed that the IMF members agree to use gold reserves of the IMF, worth of about US$100 billion at current prices, to guarantee the payment of interest and repayment of the loans for the developing nations.

However, Soros was worried that the US Congress would likely block the plan. "Nothing will happen unless there is public pressure and pressure from the developing countries to make it happen," he added.

In addition, Soros told Xinhua at the press conference that the way of generating US$100 billion is not the unique one. "But I do think that financing is a big obstacle and in fact climate change is a very real threat," he said, "I've been convinced that it is really an existential problem for the world."

(Xinhua News Agency December 11, 2009)