Japan Puts It’s Money Where it’s Mouth Is on Climate Change

Japan said Wednesday it would offer 1.75 trillion yen (19.5 billion dollars) to developing nations under a climate deal, offering a major boost to the summit in Copenhagen.

The figure amounts to more than half of the money as part of a plan to assist developing nations, a key sticking point at the 194-nation conference in the Danish capital.

“Japan as a country takes very seriously its responsibility in the international community,” Environment Minister Sakihito Ozawa told reporters.

“Japan has decided today that we will provide financial assistance to developing nations of approximately 1.75 trillion yen including public and private finances,” he said.

Ozawa said that Japan was making the pledge “all on the premise that a fair and effective international framework should be built and that this framework should involve all major countries.”

He said that 1.3 trillion yen would come in public funds, with the rest consisting of private money in the world’s second largest economy.

Ozawa gave the dollar figure of 15 billion for the pledge, although it comes to 19.5 billion with the current strength of the Japanese currency against the greenback.

It marks the biggest contribution yet to the so-called fast-track fund aimed at helping developing nations cope with climate change through 2012.

It tops the pledge by European leaders to provide 7.2 billion euros (10.6 billion dollars). The United States has said it is ready to pay a “fair share” but President Barack Obama has not yet announced any figure.

Ozawa said the funding would include mitigation efforts and the development of low-carbon technology, along with adaption by small island states.

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s left-leaning government has ramped up pledges by Japan to battle global warming and to find a successor to the landmark Kyoto Protocol negotiated in the Asian power’s ancient capital.

Japan earlier said it would also take part in a six-nation, 3.5 billion-dollar fund to address deforestation, a major source of climate change.

Photo by Greenpeace Finland

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