Montek on UN climate change financing group

United Nations, March 5 (IANS) Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of India’s Planning Commission, is among the 19 members of the high-level advisory group set up by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon seeking to mobilise financing to help developing countries combat climate change.

Philanthropist George Soros and prominent British academic Nicholas Stern are also on Ban’s Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing, which will be co-chaired by British and Ethiopian Prime Ministers, Gordon Brown and Meles Zenawi. President Bharrat Jagdeo of Guyana and Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg of Norway will also participate.

The four leaders will be joined by high-level officials from government ministries, including Mexican Finance Minister Ernesto Cordero Arroyo, as well as representatives of central banks, such as Jean-Pierre Landau, the Second Deputy Governor of the Bank of France.

The Advisory Group is slated to hold its first meeting on March 29 in London and is expected to submit its final report to Ban before the next conference of parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Mexico later this year.

The Copenhagen Accord reached at December’s UN conference in the Danish capital aims to jump-start immediate action on climate change and guide negotiations on long-term action, with developing countries to be given $30 billion until 2012 and then $100 billion a year until 2020.

It also includes an agreement to work towards curbing global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius and efforts to reduce or limit emissions.

The Advisory Group will be tasked with creating practical proposals to boost both short and long-term financing for mitigation and adaptation strategies in developing countries.

The UNFCCC announced last month that by the 31 January deadline specified in the Copenhagen Accord, some of the world’s biggest emitters of carbon dioxide – including the United States and China – had formally submitted their national targets to cut and limit greenhouse gases by 2020.

It said that it had received specific pledges from 55 countries that together account for 78 per cent of global emissions from energy use.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has found that to stave off the worst effects of climate change, industrialised countries must slash emissions by 25 to 40 per cent from 1990 levels by 2020, and that global emissions must be halved by 2050.

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