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Old 12-11-2009, 07:36 AM
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Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy: banks should pay for climate change

By David Charter and Rory Watson in Brussels and Philippe Naughton in Copenhagen

A tax on banking could be used to pay for combating climate change under plans pushed by Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy today as Britain almost doubled the cash it put up for short-term funding to help developing countries to go green.

The Treasury found 1.5 billion in so-called fast-track funding from 2010 to 2012 for clean fuel projects and to stop deforestation in developing countries, the Prime Minister said after an EU summit in Brussels.

This was a big increase on Britain's initial offer of 800 million for a voluntary international fund to help encourage progress in climate talks at Copenhagen but Mr Brown suggested that there would be no extra call on taxpayers because the money was already budgeted for.

It means Britain is offering the largest EU contribution to the fund, followed by France and Germany on 1.26 billion each over the three years.

Mr Brown and Mr Sarkozy held a rare joint press conference designed to show that they had put recent differences over EU appointments behind them and called for the International Monetary Fund to research the use of a banking tax as well as aviation and shipping fuel tax to fund longer term climate measures.

In a joint statement, they declared: "To ensure predictable and additional finance in the medium term to 2020 and beyond, we should make use of innovative financing mechanisms, such as the use of revenues from a global financial transactions tax and the reduction of aviation and maritime emissions and the auctioning of national emissions permits. We will work together on this."

The IMF will work on the uses of a banking transactions levy, known as a Tobin tax, after Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, added her voice to the EU support for the idea. "I do not use the term Tobin tax because that is a particular type but we have made clear we want the IMF to deliver proposals."

Mr Brown added: "This world deal at Copenhagen must be ambitious, global, comprehensive, legally binding within six months. We have agreed this: it must include a fast-start launch fund for 2010-2012 which is $10 billion (6.1 billion) annually.

"Our contribution will be at least 1.5 billion over the three years and we also believe that Europe will be able to show today it will pay its share of the $10 billion fund."

The 27 EU member states hammered out a funding deal in the face of reluctance from the new members from Eastern Europe.

By the time their summit in Brussels broke up at lunchtime, they had pledged 7.34 billion in the 2010-2012 period towards the international fast-track fund for developing countries.

The issue of financing - how much developing countries will get and who will control the purse strings - has emerged as a key sticking point in the Copenhagen negotiations.

The UN climate chief Yvo de Boer wants $10 billion a year over three years in initial funding to help poorer countries cope with rising temperatures.

Eventually, the deal that is likely to be struck in Copenhagen will see tens of billions of dollars flowing from North to South over the next decade, but that money still has to be found.

Europe's leaders hope to encourage more generosity through their own voluntary pledges, hence today's announcements in Brussels.

The joint statement by Mr Brown and Mr Sarkozy added: "We are determined that Copenhagen agrees to put in place stronger global environmental governance. There is much at stake at Copenhagen. We will be doing all in our power to reach the ambitious and comprehensive global agreement the world needs."

It said London and Paris had agreed to work for a Copenhagen deal "consistent with a maximum global warming of two degrees, to which all parties contribute and which enables the EU to reduce its emissions by 30 per cent by 2020".

The joint statement said that a large proportion of the funding should go towards "adaptation" projects, especially in Africa and small island states.

The British and EU funding pledges came as the negotiations in Copenhagen stepped up a gear with the formal tabling of two separate draft texts which pointed the way towards an eventual accord in Copenhagen.

The first came from the Association of Small Island States (Aosis) - whose members are considered the most vulnerable to climate change - and called for binding carbon emissions of 85 per cent by 2050 in a new Copenhagen Protocol.

That agreement would run in parallel with the existing Kyoto Protocol, which would be extended. The Aosis proposal calls for an agreement on the principle that global average temperatures would not be allowed to rise by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The second proposal was tabled by a veteran UN negotiator, Michael Zammit Cutajar, who is chairing the non-Kyoto negotiating track at Kyoto. That document proposes that the world should at least halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, although it leaves open the option for deeper cuts

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle6953222.ece
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