LIMA – Rich countries had by Tuesday pledged more than US$10 billion in climate aid for poor economies in a major milestone for UN global warming talks in Lima, according to a tally.
The $10-billion level was exceeded when Australia promised $166 million and Belgium $63.9 million at a special ministerial meeting in the Peruvian capital.
The pledges are for the brand-new Green Climate Fund (GCF), the main vehicle for channeling financial aid to poor nations, promised in 2009.
Rich countries undertook at the troubled Copenhagen Climate Summit to muster at least $100 billion per year, from all sources, from 2020.
Commitments are being closely scrutinized at the December 1-12 talks, where developing countries see funding promises as a sign of good faith in negotiations to forge a global climate pact by December 2015.
On Friday, Norway said it would provide $258 million to the GCF over the next four years.
That brought total pledges of contributions to the fund to about $9.95 billion.
"Crossing the $10 billion threshold is a major milestone that demonstrates commitment to help vulnerable countries confront climate impacts," said Athena Ballesteros of the World Resources Institute, a US think tank.
"These contributions should build trust in the negotiations and propel action to a global agreement."
Australia said its funding would be allocated over four years.
The pledge follows the United States contributing $3 billion, Japan up to $1.5 billion and France and Germany a billion dollar each to the UN fund.
Australia has come under fire by green groups for its use of coal-fired power and per-capita carbon pollution, which is one of the highest in the world. — AFP