When the Nobel Peace Prize committee decided earlier this year to award the prize to President Obama, they could not have envisaged that it would be in the same month as he sent 30,000 more troops to war.
Giving the peace prize to the Commander in Chief of American forces involved in two brutal and bloody wars has been pointed out by many as being somewhat ironic.
But now the developing countries have thrown down a gauntlet to America – spend as much on climate change as you do on war. Developing nations are pushing for $200bn to help them tackle the effects of global warming, which is significantly more than currently on the table.
Lumumba di-Aping, chief negotiator of the China and the G77 group of nations, made a direct appeal to US politicians to reapportion cash currently held by the IMF for emergencies.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) holds billions of pounds to bail out countries suffering cash shortages. “The American Congress has to be asked: you approve billions of dollars in defence budgets. Can’t you approve $200bn to save the world?” Mr di-Aping said.
And certainly the issue of finance is the one that could bring down the conference.
The US is not the only one to blame. European nations are struggling to come up with a joint contribution to the $US10 billion climate fund for poor nations. Britain has said it will contribute $US1.3 billion over three years, and Sweden will give 800 million. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany would contribute but gave no figure.
The proposal to use the emergency funds was first suggested by George Soros, the billionaire US investor. Mr Soros warned that the row now engulfing Copenhagen could “wreck the conference. It is possible to substantially increase the amount available to fight global warming in the developing world,” he said.
“All that is lacking is the political will. Unfortunately the political will will be difficult to gather because of the mere fact that it requires congressional approval in the United States
Soros’s plan includes a proposal to provide up to $150bn of cash for poor countries to get clean technology from the hidden vast reserves of money that are kept for times of crisis, called Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) or “paper gold”.
Soros proposed that the rich countries put their $150bn of SDRs into a “green fund” for poor countries to use to combat climate change.
“It is possible to substantially increase the amount available to fight global warming in the developing world by using the existing allocations of SDRs,” he said. “All that is lacking is the political will . . . Yet it could make the difference between success and failure at Copenhagen.”
The plan was generally welcomed by development groups. Oxfam International’s senior climate adviser Robert Bailey said: “Finally someone is showing the kind of innovative thinking needed to make this deal worth its salt. “Soros’s proposal shows exactly the kind of ambition and urgency we need to see from rich country governments themselves.”
Although, some environmental groups expressed caution as the plan included carbon trading, which is increasingly seen as a scam.
And if you are worried about carbon trading, time is running out to vote in the Angry Mermaid Award.