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Shipping Fuel Charges May Fund Climate Aid, UN Document Shows

Charges on shipping fuels may be used to funnel money into a United Nations climate aid fund, according to a draft document published at international climate change treaty talks in Durban, South Africa.

The document proposes that “financial resources” raised by unspecified actions to be taken by the International Maritime Organization to cut bunker fuel emissions be channeled into both the UN’s mooted Green Climate Fund and into providing compensation to developing nations whose companies are affected by the extra shipping costs.

The text is significant because it identifies the first potential private source of income for the fund, which Christiana Figueres, the UN diplomat leading the discussions, has said is a key outcome the talks need to agree on. Industrialized nations have pledged to raise $100 billion a year by 2020 to help vulnerable nations adapt to climate change and reduce emissions.

Setting a $25 per ton carbon price on shipping fuel could generate $25 billion a year by 2020 and help reduce emissions in a sector responsible for about 3 percent of global greenhouse gases, according to environment group WWF and charity Oxfam. About $10 billion of that could be channeled to the Green Climate Fund, they said.

More than 190 nations are meeting in Durban for two weeks of talks ending Dec. 9. The draft text is being debated for inclusion in a document outlining potential outcomes of the discussions. Delegates from developing nations including Brazil, China and an alliance of 42 island nations have said it’s important to identify sources of finance for the fund to avoid it being an empty shell.

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