POLICY: Qatar is hosting the 18th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Picture: REUTERS
POLICY: Qatar is hosting the 18th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Picture: REUTERS

DOHA — FINANCE to help developing countries adapt to climate change, and mitigate its negative effects, was at the heart of this year’s United Nations (UN) climate change conference in Doha, and lack of agreement on this could derail the talks, a coalition of 700 nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) said on Wednesday.

Developing economies have highlighted the lack of cash coming out of pledges to give them $30bn in "fast-start" finance between 2009 and the end of this year, and $100bn a year from 2020, as of major concern.

The least-developed countries, among them 33 in Africa, have said $100bn a year is nowhere near enough and they want $600bn a year.

Tim Gore, of Oxfam International, a leading member of the Climate Action Network, an NGO coalition drawn from 90 countries, said developing countries were heading towards a "fiscal cliff" because there was no clarity on what finance would be forthcoming between the start of next year and 2020.

But the European Union’s (EU’s) Artur Runge-Metzger said he did not believe there was a fiscal cliff, and that the EU would in the coming days outline member states’ pledges for climate finance for the developing world.

Mr Gore said the US and the EU had said they would continue providing climate finance, but there was no clarity on how much, or other details. "Finance was the glue that held the talks together (since 2009) and without it (they) could all come apart," he said.

According to a newsletter disseminated by NGOs attending the talks, only 33% of the "fast-start finance" provided was new.

"It seems developed countries need to relearn some basics about climate finance. Which part of ‘new and additional, predictable, and adequate in relation to rapidly spiralling needs’ … are they failing to understand?" the groups asked in the newsletter.

Mr Runge-Metzger said the matter of finance should be discussed more next year.

Mr Gore said the EU wanted a second commitment period to the Kyoto Protocol, but only if commitments from developing countries were included. In turn, the developing world insisted it would make commitments only if finance was forthcoming.

Blaine is attending the talks on a scholarship from the United Nations.