By JULIA DAY, STEPS Centre member

The international climate change meeting in Copenhagen this December will attempt to formulate a post-Kyoto agreement. But with less than five months to go, is time running out?

The UN’s top climate official has told the BBC this week that the richest nations will have to put $10bn “on the table” during the Copenhagen climate change summit.

Yvo De Boer, who will lead the negotiations, said such a commitment was necessary for their success on the One Planet programme.

“If we can get in Copenhagen something like 10 billion euros or dollars on the table that will allow developing countries to begin preparing national plans to limit their emissions and adapt to climate change, then that would be a good beginning,” said Mr De Boer.

“But even more importantly, Copenhagen has to agree an architecture, a burden-sharing formula, that will allow us to share out the costs of climate action among countries as the needs increase over time,” he added.

However, Greenpeace said far higher figures of about $140 billion annually should be on the table when leaders of the Group of 20 discuss climate finance at a meeting in the US city of Pittsburgh in September.

“De Boer is absolutely right to highlight that this finance question must be resolved to break the deadlock in the international climate talks but $10 billion could only be regarded as a down payment,” Greenpeace campaigner Joss Garman said.

The costs of fighting climate change in the longer term could be up to $200 billion a year, according to U.N. projections.

Meanwhile former British prime minister Tony Blair is convinced the technological solutions to global warming are “well within our grasp” and all that is needed is the political will to implement them. Easier said than done, Mr Blair.

With COP15 moving ever closer, how are negotiations proceeding? Reuters Alernet asks Howard Bamsey, Australia’s special envoy on climate change.

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