San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Negotiations for Climate Change Funding Underway

The Copenhagen Climate Change  Summit’s host nation, Denmark, threw the first hard financial aid figures on the negotiating table on Wednesday. This proposed aid could help countries such as Costa Rica protect their environment.

Pending a firm global deal and promises of similar aid from other developed nations, the Danish government announced it will commit €160 million (roughly $235 million) between 2010 and 2012 to help developing countries improve their capacities to fight climate change, according to a news release on the Web site of the Danish Foreign Affairs Ministry.

The amount of proposed aid represents a fraction of the estimated $10 billion that developing countries will need between 2010 and 2012 in order to jumpstart emissions mitigation projects, according to European Union representatives.

Costa Rican negotiators headed to Copenhagen this week in hopes of securing financial aid for the country and its developing Central American neighbors.

Delegates estimate that Costa Rica will need approximately $7 billion, a big chunk of which must come in the form of foreign financial aid, to execute projects that will significantly reduce national greenhouse gas emissions.

The Denmark announcement came one day after the Costa Rican Foreign Ministry called on world leaders to take serious action to combat climate change, saying that inaction would mean negative consequences for small coastal countries. In a statement, the ministry said that “the potential risks of unmitigated climate change are enormous” and that the phenomenon will have the “most severe impact on countries with scant natural resources and limited capacity to adapt to climate change.”

The climate change negotiations in Denmark will continue through Dec 18. World leaders are expected to arrive at the conference next week.

Casa Presidential press officials told The Tico Times on Wednesday that Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, who was specially selected by the UN Secretariat to deliver a speech to world leaders on climate change at a September summit in New York, will not attend the summit in Copenhagen. They did not elaborate.

–Mike McDonald

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