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Developed nations may have to cover US funding shortfall

By Wang Yanfei in Marrakech | | Updated: 2016-11-18 20:56

China's climate envoy on Thursday urged developed nations to increase the financial support they had pledged in the Paris pact, as they face a possible curtailment of financial support from the United States.

"Developed countries should speed up their pace to fulfill the committed financial support as they had pledged," said Xie Zhenhua, head of the Chinese delegation, after two weeks of negotiations at the Marrakech Climate Conference.

"Developing countries did not see progress on the allocation of funding," Xie said at a news briefing with ministers from four emerging developing economies — China, India, Brazil and South Africa — which share a similar stance on climate change.

Negotiations on financing will continue if there are no concrete plans after the climate talks close on Friday, according to Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa of South Africa.

In the Paris Agreement, developed countries pledged to provide $100 billion in funding by 2020 to support developing countries combat climate change.

They reaffirmed their pledge in the Marrakech Action Proclamation released on Thursday.

However, the proclamation, which has no legal force, raises concerns over whether developed nations would fulfill their pledges as scheduled.

"Now we are facing with a possible withdrawal of funding from the United States under Donald Trump's presidency. If he follows his pledges during the campaign, other developed nations should step up," Xie said.

"$3 billion is not a large amount and should not be a problem for other developed nations to put up," Xie added.

The United States, as the world's largest economy, pledged to contribute around 3 percent of the $100 billion climate funding initiated by the United Nation's Global Environmental Facility.

Bai Yunwen, a climate researcher at Greenovation Hub, said that other developing countries face more pressure on climate finance if the United States withdraws, "because other developed nations may lack the motivation to comply if the United States withdraws".

"But China's active involvement in terms of providing support to other developing countries can be complementary to support climate actions," said Erik Solheim, director of the UN Environment Program, referring to the South-South Cooperation Fund initiated by China.

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