WASHINGTON (CN) – State Secretary Hillary Clinton announced Thursday that the United States is prepared to contribute to a fund aiming to raise $100 billion to assist developing nations in combating climate change, an effort that may help unstick climate negotiations in Copenhagen that are now mired in disagreement and about to end.
Clinton said the United States would contribute to the $100 billion in annual aid that developing nations have demanded as part of an emissions agreement, but she did not specify what portion of that the United States would pay.
She held that any contribution by the United States would hinge on China agreeing to make its efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions more transparent. China had rejected the idea of external emissions auditors and the United States has said such auditors are necessary to hold nations accountable for any agreements reached.
The aid package highlights a major sticking point during the two weeks of negotiations, where disagreement has flared on the disparate roles of wealthy and poor nations in battling climate change.
India, China, and dozens of developing nations staged a walk-out earlier in the week and threatened to abandon negotiations altogether.
Developing nations have called on hefty assistance packages from industrialized nations to help them develop cleaner sources of energy and to cope with the impacts of climate change, like increases in the prevalence of flooding and drought, and a rising sea level.
They have also claimed that developed nations are not doing enough to cut their own emissions.
Industrialized nations have pledged $350 million in aid – including $85 million in U.S. aid – to be distributed over a five-year period, in addition to a separate $3 billion pledge by European nations.
The United States, Japan, Australia, France, Norway and Britain have also pledged $3.5 billion – of which the U.S. portion was $1 billion – to protect rain forests.