France proposes climate plan to help poorest countries

France proposes climate plan to help poorest countries

Paris: France is proposing a plan to help the world’s poorest countries finance renewable energy projects that it hopes will form part of upcoming climate talks, ecology minister Jean-Louis Borloo said in an interview on Sunday.

The “justice-climate" plan could be financed by revenue from financial transactions, he told the Journal du Dimanche newspaper, without elaborating or specifically calling for a tax.

Borloo hopes the plan, which the newspaper quoted sources saying could raise €20 billion a year, will help break the deadlock between rich and poor at talks in Copenhagen in December aimed at agreeing a new climate treaty. “The industrialised countries which have polluted a lot should mobilise to finance the development of renewable energy in the most vulnerable countries," Borloo told the newspaper.

“They represent 1.2 billion people who suffer the most from climate problems. Between this shock, their lack of economic development and their absence from big international negotiations, they are really undergoing a triple punishment."

The money would be targeted towards specific programmes such as hydraulic dams, solar energy stations or wind turbines, he said.

The idea of a tax on financial transactions, sometimes called a Tobin tax after economist James Tobin, has come up regularly in recent months as policymakers examine how financial markets might help pay for the effects of the financial crisis.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said European Union leaders agreed a funding proposal for Copenhagen at a summit on Friday after healing a rift over how to split the bill.

He said developing nations need €100 billion ($148 billion) a year from 2020 to battle climate change. About €22 billion-€50 billion of the total will come from the public purse in rich countries. The climate talks began in 2007, spurred by findings by the United Nations Climate Panel that world emissions would have to peak by 2015 to avoid the worst of desertification, floods, extinctions or rising seas. But progress has been slow because industrialized countries and poor countries are split about how to share curbs on greenhouse gases.