Big polluters want to help poorer countries adapt

The world’s industrialized countries are looking to provide “significant financial resources” to the developing world to help them combat global warming and will ask a September meeting of the world’s 20 major economies to take up the issue, U.S. President Barack Obama said Thursday.

Poor countries have refused to commit to any reduction targets in their carbon emissions without firm pledges of financing from wealthier countries largely responsible for climate change. The dispute has been a thorn in negotiations for a new climate change treaty and scuttled any major breakthrough on targets from emerging at a Group of Eight summit here this week.

Obama told a news conference that finance ministers of the G-20 would take up proposals to finance carbon emissions reductions in the developing world at their September summit in Pittsburgh.

“We are looking at providing significant financial assistance to help these countries,” he said, praising the British and Mexican leaders for having come up with “creative proposals” for the G20 to consider.

Environmentalists said the move could help break a logjam in negotiations over a new climate control pact that is to be finalized in December in Copenhagen.

“There was no real new commitment on finance, that is one of the disappointing outcomes of the G-8, but I take the annoucement by Obama of taking it into the G-20 as a recognition that what they’ve come up with so far isn’t enough,” said Kim Carstensen of the World Wildlife Fund for Nature.

Obama spoke at the end of a meeting of the 17-nation Major Economies Forum, which has become the G-8’s main forum for climate change. It includes the G-8 ? Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Japan and the United States ? as well as China, which has overtaken the U.S. as the world’s biggest polluter, and India, which is close behind. Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia, Australia, South Korea and the European Union also are in that club of the world’s major polluters.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.