Clashes over financing threaten UN climate talks

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DOHA, Qatar -- The world's poorest nations called for significant financing from rich countries Wednesday to cope with the impacts of global warming, setting up a potential clash that could slow progress on reaching a global climate pact by 2015.

Rich countries, including the United States, said at the UN climate talks they have fulfilled promises to provide $30 billion the past three years and remain committed to providing $100 billion a year by 2020. But developing nations want that financing increased gradually, starting next year -- a commitment the European Union, United States and Japan are not willing to make.

"Obviously, developing countries think it should be an upward curve," Brazil's chief negotiator, Andre Correa do Lago, told reporters.

Pa Ousman Jarju, chairman of the 48-member Least Developed Countries at the talks, said it was too early to say the disputes over financing could spill over to other areas of negotiations, including the extension of the Kyoto Protocol, which will expire this year.

But among the financing demands from developing countries is a financial road map through 2020 as well as a mechanism to generate the necessary funds.

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The European Union's Peter Betts said EU member states would make their own pledges, but that a near-term target of financing from the financially stressed EU would not be forthcoming at this meeting.

The American negotiator, Jonathan Pershing, agreed.

"To me, the question of whether there are new commitments that get announced here is not the right question," Pershing said. "The question really is did we do the first one and the answer is yes. Are we working on the second? The answer is yes."

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