Tags: white | house | climate | change

White House Fails to Meet Climate Change Pledge

Wednesday, 13 Nov 2013 12:47 PM

By Lisa Barron

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The Obama administration has failed to abide by its promise to join developed nations in giving poor countries $100 billion by 2020 to fight climate change.

A new Oxfam report, which coincides with the a United Nations meeting in Poland this week aimed at assessing international efforts on the issue, says there has been a lot of confusion about what exactly was pledged, reports the Washington Times.

"What is needed is certainty in uncertain times," Kelly Dent, a spokeswoman for the British-based relief charity told the newspaper. "The U.S. needs to provide certainty to developing countries that it is actually serious about the 2020 commitment and it needs to increase its commitments to reach the 2020 goal."

Industrialized countries including the U.S., the United Kingdom, France, and Germany agreed to donate the money during a 2009 UN meeting in Copenhagen, but four years later they are said to be far from meeting that target.

"They're not doing anywhere near enough," Dent told the Times, adding, "The only ones that are close to doing what is needed are the U.K. and Germany."

The $100 billion fund is at the center of the talks in Warsaw, where representatives of more than 190 countries have gathered to lay the groundwork for a global agreement on climate change, reports The Washington Post.

"Warsaw, even more than usual, is a stop along the way toward accomplishments in the longer term," said Nathaniel Keohane, vice president of the Environmental Defense Fund's international climate program, adding, "I don't think anyone is expecting a major landmark in Warsaw."

Meanwhile, Oxfam estimates that the U.S. donated $7.5 billion dollars to the global fund from 2010 through 2012, but in 2013 Washington gave just $1.6 billion.

"I hope President Obama is able to follow through on what he has promised," Dent said, adding, "It remains to be seen whether he can follow through on his promises to reduce emissions."

The State Department's special envoy for climate change, Todd Stern, said in a speech in London last month that an increase in funding from developed countries is not likely.

"Now, the hard reality: no step change in overall levels of public funding from developed countries is likely to come anytime soon," he said at Chatham House.

"The fiscal reality of the United States and other developed countries is not going to allow it."

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