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Fast start fund for developing nations a 'greenwash': Greenpeace

A proposed $10 billion fund to help developing countries tackle global warming is an attempt to "buy off poor countries with quick money," Kim Carstensen, head of the World Wildlife Federation's global climate initiative, said today.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown proposed the Copenhagen Launch Fund at a meeting of the heads of Commonwealth countries last week, and the so-called "fast start funding" was backed by all 53 member nations and approved in an official declaration.

The fund as proposed would start in 2010 and build to $10 billion annually by 2012. It would support climate adaptation, clean technology and the reduction of deforestation, with 10 per cent dedicated to small island states -- those most at risk of rising sea levels.

Carstensen said financing is a key issue in next week's Copenhagen climate neogitations, but said $10 billion is far too little.

Tove Ryding of Greenpeace called it a greenwash to watch out for in Copenhagen.

"The fear is that [developed countries] will re-label aid money for climate change. They refuse to promise that this is going to be additional money."

This fall, the World Bank released a report estimating the cost of climate change mitigation for developing countries at $75 to $100 billion per year, from 2010 to 2050.

At a press conference last week, Guyana's President Bharrat Jagdeo said that, in light of these figures, the proposed Copenhagen Launch fund wouldn't address the issues of adaptation, mitigation and technology transfer, and should be viewed as interim financing.

Colleen Kimmett reports for The Tyee.

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