U.N. climate talks seen missing aid plan deadline

Alister Doyle|The Baltimore Sun

OSLO (Reuters) – A plan by almost 200 countries to step up efforts to fight climate change is set to miss a March deadline for starting work on a green fund to help developing nations, delegates said on Wednesday.

Groups of Asian, and Latin American and Caribbean countries have yet to decide who will gain early influence in designing the “Green Climate Fund” by attending 40-nation U.N.-led talks due in Mexico City on March 14 and 15.

The fund, under which aid flows are meant to reach $100 billion a year by 2020, was agreed by governments in December as part of a deal that the United Nations said reignited “a beacon of hope” for tackling global warming.

John Ashe of Antigua and Barbuda, who represents the Latin American and Caribbean group where 14 countries are vying for seven seats in the fund planning committee, said it looked unlikely the matter could be resolved by mid-month.

“Proceeding with the meeting would be a tall order” if all nominees were not in place, he told Reuters. The Asian group has said it will be unable to pick its seven delegates before April.

“It may be difficult to have the meeting,” Artur-Runge Metzger, head of the European Commission delegation, told Reuters. Europe’s eight delegates had been decided.

The last U.N. talks in Cancun, Mexico, agreed in December to set up the fund as part of a package including steps to protect tropical forests and to limit any rise in temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times.

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