The trillion-dollar question is: who will now lead the climate battle?

Some of the planet’s most powerful paymasters will gather in London on Wednesday to discuss a nagging financial problem: how to raise a trillion dollars for the developing world. Those charged with achieving this daunting goal will include Gordon Brown, directors of several central banks, the billionaire philanthropist George Soros, the economist Lord (Nicholas) Stern and Larry Summers, President Obama’s chief economics adviser.

As an array of expertise, it is formidable: but then so is the task they have been set by the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon. In effect, the world’s top financiers have been told to work out how to raise at least $100bn a year for the rest of this decade, cash that will be used to help the world’s poorest countries adapt to climate change.

“The prices we pay for our goods do not reflect one key cost: the damage that their production does to the planet’s climate system,” said Bob Ward, of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change at the LSE. “We need to find ways to extract payment from those who cause that damage and then use that money to fund developing nations so that they can protect themselves from the worst effects of global warming.”

And to raise those funds the Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing has made clear that it will consider everything – from placing levies on international aviation and shipping, to enlarging carbon markets, introducing financial transaction taxes and using the International Monetary Fund’s special reserve currency. You name it and it will be run up the flagpole – for success in establishing a developing world finance plan is now considered crucial to the success of next December’s UN climate change meeting in Mexico. “Finance is a prerequisite for a climate agreement,” said Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climage Change, on Friday. “Developing countries are very sensitive about this. Talks will collapse without strong and secure financing in place.”

It sounds familiar, and so it should: these new discussions mark a renewal of global climate talks that ended only three months ago at the Copenhagen UN summit, which failed to set a deal to control emissions of carbon dioxide.

Politicians and negotiators are preparing another assault on the issue, though this time talks will be very different. For a start, climate science has suffered damaging setbacks. There was the leaking from the University of East Anglia’s climate research unit of email exchanges between some of the world’s top meteorologists as well as the discovery that a UN assessment report on climate change had vastly exaggerated the rate of melting of Himalayan glaciers.

Read the Rest of the story at  The Observer.

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