LONDON Jan 16 U.N. climate chief Yvo de Boer on
Wednesday hailed as a "Marshall Plan" for climate change news
that the United States will set up a multi-billion dollar fund
to help developing nations acquire clean power technologies.
The "clean technology fund" would help the developing
nations meet the estimated $30 billion cost of acquiring
expensive low carbon emission power technologies in place of
cheaper, but far dirtier, old technologies.
"This clean technology fund is perhaps a Marshall Plan on
climate change beginning to emerge where we stop worrying about
the short term woes and focus much more on taking a bold step
forward ... towards a clean future," de Boer told Reuters.
The Marshall Plan was a major investment project set up by
the United States after World War Two to help rebuild Europe's
"The notion of this clean technology fund, announced by the
United States, represents a sea change in thinking on climate
change," de Boer, the head of the UN Framework Convention on
Climate Change, said in a telephone interview from Germany.
"Up to now there has been a lot of concern, certainly in the
United States, that helping developing countries like China and
India on climate change would take jobs away from Americans and
give them to the Chinese," he added.
Few details are yet available about the proposed new fund,
such as whether it would be loans or grants, who would
administer it and over what period.
Extending the analogy of the Marshall Plan which combined
public with private money, de Boer said the clean technology
fund would facilitate private investment in clean technologies.
"This clean technology fund is seen as a way of mobilising
private capital, of opening up new markets," he said.
"This is a signal that a solution is beginning to emerge,
that the conductor that connects rich country action to poor
country action in terms of technology and finance is beginning
to be seriously thought about," he added.
The fund is expected to draw finance from the major
developed nations who have pumped most of the climate warming
carbon into the atmosphere in the first place, and who the
poorer developing countries insist bear the burden of cost.
De Boer said that while the main thrust of the new fund,
announced in Washington on Monday, was to promote low carbon
economic growth, security was also a serious issue -- as it was
with the Marshall Plan which had a sub text of shoring up
European democracies against the threat of Communism.
"I see a number of economic and security issues emerging as
a result of climate change which make it all the more imperative
to come to grips with this issue in time," he said.
"If I look at the potential impact of sea level rise on
metropolitan centres around the world and if I realise that
within 20 years time 25 million Africans could be impacted by
water stress and looking for somewhere to move," he added.
(Reporting by Jeremy Lovell; editing by Jon Boyle)