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De Boer: Fighting climate change will cost a "phenomenal amount of money - 300 billion dollars a year from 2020. That is the cost for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to impacts from the changing climate, estimates the UN climate chief Yvo de Boer.

The world will need a “phenomenal amount of money” to change its energy supply from fossil fuels to cleaner sources and to adapt to climate change, states Yvo de Boer, head of the UN Climate Change Secretariat.

According to his estimate 200 billion dollars a year is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emission and 100 billion dollars a year is necessary to adapt to climate change, such as coping with droughts and rising sea levels. That makes a total of 300 billion dollars a year from 2020.

"It's a phenomenal amount of money but how much of that money is needed at the end of the day is to a large extent dependent on how ambitious the climate change response is," de Boer said in an interview with Reuters. 

In comparison, the US economic stimulus package agreed earlier this year mounted to a total of 787 billion dollars.

The question of who is to pay – and how the bill is to be calculated for each country – is central to the UN climate talks taking place right now among 180 countries in Bonn and in December at the UN climate conference in Copenhagen. In December, the parties aim at agreeing on a new treaty on climate change, replacing the Kyoto Protocol. Right now, the task at the negotiations is to reduce a 200-page draft text, which according to de Boer has about 2,000 square brackets, indicating points of disagreement.

"It's not rocket science: that's the core of what this process really needs to deliver now," he said.

De Boer said that the new pact should set up a fair mechanism for raising funds rather than set overall numbers.

"A robust burden-sharing formula is the most important thing," he said and mentioned that the Copenhagen talks also needed to start with some money on the table, perhaps 10 billion dollars.


Extpub | by Dr. Radut