Durban diary – daily snippets from the South Africa climate change conference. Can Western economies facing economic crisis pay for a green climate fund for developing countries?
MONEY is usually centre-stage at the annual conference on climate change and Durban, South African, was no exception.
How much money can developing countries wring out of the guilt-conscious West is the regular question.
How much money can developing countries wring out of the guilt-conscious West is the regular question
The strongest voices at the COP17 meeting - the 17th conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) - are heard on the so-called 'green climate fund'. This is a fund contributing US$100 billion every year from 2020 for developed countries to help developing countries mitigate the impact of climate change.
It does not matter whether the impact is highly controversial. The Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) countries - made up of eight Latin American and Caribbean nations - got together to denounce the United States and other Western nations for not providing enough money to the green climate fund.
Bolivia's head of delegation, Rene Orellana, was negative and others said the US was the main roadblock to establishing the fund.
The group, which also includes Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Ecuador and some smaller states, are also against free market policies. Venezuela's head of delegation, Claudia Salerno said that in contributing to the fund, any mechanism that depended on the private sector should be kept out.
But the US is facing the prospect of sliding back into recession and the ability of the government to offer another stimulus or another bailout is shrinking rapidly.
The eurozone economies face serious challenges and the need for a long-term rescue deal costing hundreds of billions of Euros to be hammered out. Growth prospects in Europe have been reduced sharply.
Demand for the green climate fund is unlikely to find any generous sponsors any time soon with such severe financial constraints
Demand for the green climate fund is unlikely to find any generous sponsors any time soon with such severe financial constraints.
While one may continue to debate whether the planet's climate is changing or not, or whether it is part of a natural process or man-made, there is no scope for debate that the economic climate around the world has changed dramatically in the past few years.
Additional research by Hardev Sanotra.