Saturday, 28 November 2009

Brown proposes global fund to kick-start Copenhagen climate change process

PM says he expects £10bn plan to be backed by Commonwealth leaders, Nicolas Sarkozy and US

Press Association, Friday 27 November 2009 12.28 GMT
Gordon Brown today proposed setting up a global fund to "kick-start" the Copenhagen climate change process and encourage poorer countries to start cutting greenhouse gas emissions immediately.
Days ahead of the vital UN-sponsored climate change conference in the Danish capital, Brown proposed a £10bn rich-world fund, to which Britain would contribute £800m.
The initiative would give incentives to developing countries to halt deforestation, develop low-carbon energy sources and prepare for the effects of a warmer climate.
Covering the years 2010-12, the Copenhagen launch fund would deliver funds to poorer states on a payment by results system, under which those which showed they were taking action to halt climate change would receive more cash.
Brown said he expected the proposal to be welcomed at the Commonwealth heads of government meeting, which he is attending in Trinidad today.
He added that he expected it to be backed by Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, who is attending the talks to discuss Europe's response to global warming, as well as by the US.

Gordon Brown unveils fund to tackle 'climate emergency'

• Poorer countries to receive fast-tracked support• Prime minister pledges £800m from Britain
Nicholas Watt in Port of Spain, Friday 27 November 2009 21.57 GMT
Gordon Brown has unveiled a $22bn (£13.3bn) global fund to respond to the world's "climate emergency" by fast-tracking funds to poorer countries from next year.
In an intensification of preparations for the Copenhagen summit, which starts on 7 December, the prime minister announced the spending pledge to halt deforestation, build flood defences and boost renewable supplies in the developing world.
The initiative, supported by the US and EU leaders, would involve the use of satellites to ensure that commitments to stop deforestation were being met.
Brown outlined the plan, which is designed to fast-track support before a €100bn commitment to be built up from 2013, on the opening day of the Commonwealth heads of government meeting in Trinidad and Tobago.
The prime minister said Britain would contribute £800m to the Copenhagen Launch Fund. "Together, the collective power of the Commonwealth must be brought together to tackle a new historic injustice, that of climate change. We face a climate emergency: we cannot wait until 2013 to begin taking action," he said.
The fund, which would start in the new year, would be worth $10bn a year by 2012, he said, and would be worth $22bn by the time the €100bn fund kicks in from 2013. The new fund will be split two ways:
• Adaptation, in which countries such as Bangladesh will receive upfront help for coastal flood defences as they adapt to climate change.
• Payment by results, in which countries will take action to reduce future carbon emissions by cutting back on deforestation and building up renewable supplies. Deforestation will be monitored by satellites to ensure illegal loggers do not break government commitments.
Brown said it was crucial to win over poorer countries. "While the major cause of high emissions is the activities of the richest countries over many, many years, 90% of future growth in emissions will come from developing countries," the prime minister said. "Therefore, we have got to have a plan to make sure their emissions can come down."
Britain believes that agreement on climate financing among Commonwealth leaders would be highly symbolic ahead of Copenhagen. Preparations for the summit in the Danish capital have been soured by divisions between developed and developing countries.
"From London to Trinidad and Tobago to Copenhagen may seem a roundabout journey, but this is one of the routes to Copenhagen to make sure we can get an agreement that will work," Brown said. Britain sees the Commonwealth as a microcosm of the 193 countries invited to Copenhagen. It includes rich countries, such as Britain and Australia; emerging nations, such as India and South Africa; some of the world's poorest nations, such as Malawi; rainforest nations, including Guyana; and island nations such as the Maldives.
Brown said: "There will be no Copenhagen agreement unless we find a solution on finance. The financial issues resolve the ability of poor countries to be part of a climate initiative. If they do not have the money to transfer their energies into doing pro-carbon reduction matters, they will not be able to do them. If we are able to help them to do it, then they will be able to make big changes."
Brown believes there is strong support in the developed world for the $10bn fund. Nicolas Sarkozy threw his weight behind the plan today when he became the first French president to attend a Commonwealth heads of government meeting. The US president, Barack Obama, has indicated that he supports the proposal.
The fund has been strengthened since EU leaders agreed at a Brussels summit at the end of October that a global €100bn-a-year fund should be established by 2020. This will be provided in three ways:
• Developing nations such as China and, to a slightly lesser extent, Brazil, will fund their own carbon reduction.
• Developed nations will contribute public funds.
• Private funds will be provided through the carbon market.EU leaders agreed that an earlier $10bn fund – the basis of yesterday's announcement – should be fast tracked from next year. This is entirely public funds.
The EU summit in October was seen as a significant moment which encouraged key developing nations to make key commitments to cut emissions. Brazil will cut emissions by 36-39% by 2020 over what is known as "business as usual" – the emissions level if no action were taken. South Korea will cut by 30% and Indonesia will cut by 26-41%. "These are serious and ambitious offers," Brown said.
Earlier, the Queen told the opening ceremony: "The threat to our environment is not a new concern. But it is now a global challenge which will continue to affect the security and stability of millions for years to come.
"Many of those affected are among the most vulnerable, and many of the people least well able to withstand the adverse effects of climate change live in the Commonwealth."

China Seeks Help From Rich World on Climate

BEIJING -- China's top climate-change negotiator signaled that Beijing is unlikely to take further significant measures on emissions during global talks in Copenhagen unless wealthy countries foot the bill.
Yu Qingtai, special representative on climate-change talks, said China doesn't plan to seek international funding for the vast bulk of the reductions it announced this week -- a 40% to 45% cut in "carbon intensity," or emissions relative to economic output, below 2005 levels by 2020.
European Pressphoto Agency
Workers unload coal for a power station in Shenyang, China, on Friday.
China won't seek international monitoring of those reductions, he said, because it will pay for most of them itself. But it would accept international oversight on reductions that are funded internationally, Mr. Yu said.
"If you look at the scope of what we do, only an extremely small portion ... would get international support," Mr. Yu said in an interview Friday. "We will rely on our resources to reach the targets we set for ourselves," he added.
Mr. Yu's comments are part of an unusually intense public-relations and diplomatic campaign by China to argue its case ahead of Copenhagen. While rejecting any absolute caps on developing countries, including itself, China is demanding that developed countries commit from 0.5% to 1% of their annual gross domestic product to help poorer nations make reductions. The U.S. and Europe have said that demand isn't acceptable.
The plan China announced Thursday doesn't promise to reduce carbon emissions, but instead to slow the rate of growth in emissions. It isn't an absolute limit -- unlike the provisional target of a 17% carbon cut announced this week by the U.S., and even more aggressive targeted cuts that Europe has discussed.
Some observers had hoped China would be willing to make its targets part of an international binding agreement at the Copenhagen talks, which start next month. That could help placate critics in the U.S. and Europe who fear that, without the kinds of carbon limits developed nations are planning, China will have an unfair advantage over industries in countries with carbon caps.
But Mr. Yu offered little hope that China would make concessions at Copenhagen to make a global deal there more politically palatable in the U.S.
Arguing that rich nations have failed to live up to earlier promises and are demanding too much from China, he said: "Nobody bothered too much about meeting those commitments and we haven't heard anyone saying sorry that they failed."
Analysts remain divided over whether China's new targets represent a significant departure from business as usual. By some estimates, China has already fulfilled part of its goal through existing energy-efficiency measures. Arthur Kroeber, an economist at Dragonomics Research & Advisory in Beijing, estimates the carbon-intensity goal would still allow China's absolute emissions to rise by 90% to 108% over 2005 levels by 2020.
Jörg Wuttke, president of the European Chamber of Commerce in China, says Beijing's plans for spending on green projects over the next several years show it is "moving from the rhetoric corner to the taking-action corner compared to what we saw last year."
Still, Mr. Wuttke and others are worried that if China were to make any further commitments in Copenhagen in exchange for foreign assistance, it could pose risks for foreign companies. "We're worried about enforced technology transfer," he said.
The central leadership in China -- as in the rest of the recession-hit global economy -- has to confront interest groups that include local officials and heads of powerful state-owned businesses who are opposed to slowing economic growth in the name of a cleaner environment.
Write to Shai Oster at

Talking Energy: carbon capture and storage

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) - also known as 'clean coal' - could soon allow for a new generation of coal-fired power stations. By Andrew Charlesworth.

Andrew CharlesworthPublished: 5:38PM GMT 27 Nov 2009

Hot topic: fully operational carbon capture and storage (CCS) is still several years away, but when it finally arrives this "clean coal" technology will change the face of energy generation
The UK is facing transformation of its energy generating system. The closure of end-of-life nuclear and coal power stations is coinciding with ambitious commitments to reduce carbon emissions and the demise of North Sea gas.
Whatever we replace our current generating capacity with has to provide affordable, reliable and lowcarbon power – an energy trilemma.

This fifth article in a series of 10 looks at where carbon capture and storage fits into the trilemma debate. Coal used to be the mainstay of UK electricity generation. But falling gas prices over the last three decades have seen us play it down.
Now, aware of the need to balance our options, we are reconsidering our use of coal. “Given the importance of supply diversity to our security, it would be foolish to abandon coal,” wrote ex-energy minister and MP for Croydon North Malcolm Wicks in his report Energy Security: A national challenge in a changing world. “UK coal production could be retained at current levels of around 20 million tons per year through to at least 2025.”
Unfortunately, coal emits more than double the CO2 as gas per kilowatt of energy produced when burned. Step forward carbon capture and storage (CCS) – sometimes called “clean coal” – which promises to remove a large proportion of emissions from burning coal.
“Promise” is the choice word. Current research by the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum suggests there are 273 CCS projects under way worldwide, 64 of which are of commercial scale. Of those, seven are operational end-to-end, but none as yet generate electricity.
“Carbon capture has been used in petrochemical and chemical processes for many years,” says Andy Read, clean coal business development manager at E.ON. “We are confident we can build CCS at a commercial scale. We know the technology needs to improve and are confident it will.”
In October, energy secretary Ed Miliband reaffirmed the Government’s commitment, stating that no new coal station can be permitted without at least a quarter of it having CCS capability.
The government is currently running a £1bn competition to fund a CCS plant. There are currently two entrants in the competition; E.ON and Scottish Power.
Of course, this money has to come from somewhere, and the new Energy Bill has clauses in it for a levy on energy bills to fund up to four CCS projects, in line with the Government’s Low Carbon Transition Plan and the recommendations of the Climate Change Committee.
The four CCS plants would play a role in achieving the goal of a 50 per cent cut in emissions from the power sector by 2020, the Committee’s report said. It is also thought that the European Commission will fund a 900-megawatt plant with CCS fitted at Hatfield in Yorkshire.
Fully operational CCS as it is envisaged by the power companies is still several years away and developing it to a reliable technology will be expensive.
So, we can’t rely on CCS alone to fulfil all three criteria of the trilemma – reliability, affordability and low-carbon. Nevertheless it is another part of the mixed portfolio of sources that the UK needs in order to meet its future energy requirements.
Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS): why it matters
CCS (carbon capture and storage) covers a range of techniques for removing most of the CO2 emissions from coal-fired power stations.
The two main techniques, pre- and postcombustion have their pros and cons, their cheerleaders and critics.
Neither is suitable for retrofitting to the UK’s old coal-fired power stations, so whichever is used we would need to build new plants. Both require captured CO2 to be stored as liquid in underground chambers, such as depleted gas fields, so they require pipelines from power station to storage site.
The techniques involved are all in current use: post-combustion CO2 is used in fizzy drinks; pre-combustion gasification is used in the production of ammonia; and CO2 is injected into gas and oil fields to drive out the last reserves.
But no one has yet combined these in an end-to-end process at the scale required for clusters of power stations. Oxyfuel technology, an alternative carbon capture technique, is under trial in Germany.
CCS is vital to the struggle against global climate change, because the emerging economies of India and China are almost wholly dependent on coal for electricity generation.
Speaking at the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum in London in October, US energy secretary Steven Chu predicted it was highly unlikely that the US, China and India would stop burning coal.
The International Energy Agency estimates 100 CCS plants will be needed by 2020, up to 850 plants by 2030 and 3,400 plants by 2050.
CCS technology developed in the west will probably be deployed in countries like China and India as part of a deal to help them industrialise without skyrocketing emissions.
Indeed, work began on China’s first clean coal plant, in the northern city of Tianjin, in June. The $1bn project is funded by a group of investors, one of which is US coal giant Peabody Energy.

China invests in methane capture

China, a massive consumer of fossil fuels and coal in particular, is trying to modernise its mines by containing emissions of methane and turning the gas into a source of much-needed energy.

By an AFP reporterPublished: 2:44PM GMT 27 Nov 2009
The Chinese government has made methane capture a government priority both in the name of safety, as the gas is responsible for many of the deadly blasts in China's dangerous mines, and environmental protection.
China is the world's top emitter of greenhouse gases and the extraction of coal, the source of more than 70 per cent of the Asian giant's energy, accounts for a significant proportion of those emissions.
Beijing - which has come under pressure to commit to deeper emissions cuts, especially in the run-up to climate change talks in Copenhagen next month - is pouring millions of dollars into clean coal technology.
"The government grants about $300 million (£183 million) a year in subsidies to mines that set up methane capture units," says Huang Shengchu, director of the Chinese coal information institute in Beijing, a government-linked body.
Mines with such units are cleared of dangerous gas before coal is extracted; the siphoned-off methane is transported through pipelines to power stations where, unlike carbon dioxide, it can be recycled to produce electricity.
Not all involved in the industry have been converted to the idea of going green.
"Small private structures are reluctant to implement Beijing's policies," Huang noted.
But companies that specialise in clean coal technology say they are optimistic that mining firms will get on board.
"This industry is undergoing a huge modernisation," said Dave McKinnon, project manager for Australian firm Valley Longwall International.
His company has been selling its computer-assisted drilling guidance system for three years in northern Shanxi province, the centre of China's coal-producing heartlands.
The cutting-edge equipment detects methane emissions and, according to the firm, allows for near-total capture.
"Most of my customers buy our technology because the safety standards are more and more strict," McKinnon said.
For years, authorities have been trying to improve safety in the country's coal mines, which are among the most dangerous in the world, with standards often ignored in the quest for profits and the drive to meet surging demand.
Official figures show that more than 3,200 workers died in collieries last year, but independent labour groups say the actual figure could be much higher, as many accidents are covered up in order to avoid costly mine shutdowns.
At least 104 miners were killed in a huge blast at a mine in the north-eastern province of Heilongjiang last Saturday, China's worst mining disaster in two years.
Traditionally, methane has been extracted from mines through ventilation systems to prevent high concentrations of the gas in the shafts, which could poison workers and eventually lead to explosions.
But that method allowed the gas to escape into the atmosphere, rather than be put to positive use.
"Methane represents only one or two per cent of the consumption of primary energy in China, but it could become quite important in some areas," said Pamela Franklin, of the US Environmental Protection Agency.
In Shanxi, the city of Jincheng stands as a shining example of the benefits of methane capture: since last year, a major power station has been operating there, fed by methane from a nearby mine.
Huang says the $45 million-plant - capable of continuously producing 120 megawatts of power - is one of the most significant of its kind in the world. Taxis and buses in the city also run on methane.
Last year, 4.3 billion cubic metres of methane were captured in China, an increase of 26 per cent from 2007, according to Ming Yang, an official at the International Energy Agency who co-authored a report on the potential for methane use here.

Charles, Prince of the rainforests and scourge of climate change

Deforestation worldwide could be cut by a quarter within five years at the cost of what Goldman Sachs is expected to pay in bonuses this year, writes Geoffrey Lean.

By Geoffrey LeanPublished: 8:08PM GMT 27 Nov 2009

Visiting St James's Palace the other day was something of a Grimm experience: I went to see a prince, but came face to face with a frog. The frog was huge, haughty-looking and richly coloured – reedbed royalty, indeed. And, as if to complete the fairy tale, I then heard a well-known voice: "I am Sting. A rainforest campaigner, and a friend of this frog."
The animal was an animated model, symbol of the Prince of Wales's Rainforest Project, launched to try to prevent the world's richest habitats from – wait for it – croaking. Extraordinarily, as I discovered on getting to the meeting I had come to attend, the project has brought about the best chance yet of achieving that.
Every year, some 32 million acres of tropical forest (about half of it rainforest) are felled worldwide. Even if you ignore its impact on climate change, this is a disaster: countless species are driven to extinction, harvests are hit as rainfall patterns change, and rainwater runs off treeless landscapes, causing floods.
But felling forests is also responsible for nearly a fifth of all the carbon dioxide humanity puts into the atmosphere each year – more than all the cars, commercial vehicles, trains, ships and aircraft combined. Standing forests store the equivalent of at least 40 times the annual greenhouse gas emissions, which would be more than enough to destroy the Earth's climate if they were to be cut down.
Put positively, preserving forests is one of the quickest and cheapest ways of combating global warming. Lord Stern, author of the eponymous report, reckons that it would cost about $5 to save each ton of carbon dioxide, one quarter of the (low) price at which it is trading on the European market – and the species and rainfall would be preserved free.
Unfortunately, cutting down forest provides quick returns, for small farmers trying to eke out a living, logging companies and governments looking to maximise revenue, not to mention politicians and officials after backhanders. The timber can be sold, and more money made from farming the land or using it to cultivate palm oil or to ranch cattle. But the timber can only be flogged once, and poor rainforest soil is quickly exhausted.
Climate change negotiations have taken a disgracefully long time in getting round to this issue. Forests were left out of the Kyoto Protocol, partly at the urging of some green pressure groups who, with typical tunnel vision, wanted to keep the focus on reducing the burning of fossil fuels in rich countries.
In Copenhagen, proposals will finally be on the table to make sure that forests are worth more alive than dead – under the kind of title only the UN can dream up, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, shortened to "REDD". And, in anticipation, some countries have already take action. Brazil has cut its deforestation fourfold in just five years, reaching its lowest level in two decades. Indonesia is offering big reductions. And Guyana, which still has 95 per cent of its rainforest intact, has been fighting off pressure from logging companies.
But the negotiations over REDD, which would provide money to compensate countries for avoiding deforestation, are slow and complicated. Even if a broad agreement is reached in Copenhagen, the details will take years to sort out.
Meanwhile, as President Jagdeo of Guyana and other leaders told the meeting at St James's Palace, they are out on a limb, having told their peoples that forgoing the immediate benefits of deforestation will prove worthwhile. If the money does not materialise, they are likely to lose office. Much more importantly, their countries will never again be persuaded to leave the trees standing.
That is where the Prince of Wales has come in. Back in April, he persuaded the leaders attending the G20 summit in London to set up a study into what could be done immediately, using emergency finance. Its report – agreed by 35 governments and launched at the recent meeting in London – concluded that deforestation worldwide could be cut by a quarter within five years at a cost of £13-£22 billion, paid on results.
It sounds a lot of money, but at the lower end it is about what Goldman Sachs is expected to pay in bonuses this year. And some money is already coming in. The Norwegian government described how it had just agreed to provide £150 million from its oil revenues to Guyana, if it leaves forests standing. The United States joined in, announcing it would spend £165 million next year, predominantly on rainforests. Britain was also due to pledge money, but delayed at the last minute. Let's hope it happens soon: after all, forests would be better REDD than dead.

British company to help India harness the power of the sea

Rhys Blakely in Mumbai

A small British-based tidal energy company has won a landmark contract to attempt to harness the power of the sea around India for the first time.
Atlantis Resources has forged a deal with the western state of Gujarat, under which the privately owned company will establish the feasibility of developing tidal power projects capable of generating more than 100 megawatts of power — enough to supply about 40,000 households.
Of particular interest are the Gulf of Kutch and the Gulf of Khambhat in the Arabian Sea: two sites renowned for extreme daily tides. The project could lead to hundreds of millions of pounds worth of investment in tidal energy if the results of the study are positive.
India has more than 4,500 miles of coastline and is scrambling to tackle a gaping power deficit but has yet to establish a single tidal power project. The move to explore the untapped resource comes ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, an event where India will strive to demonstrate that it is doing its utmost to limit emissions while refusing to cap economic growth.

India, which imports 70 per cent of its oil and relies on modest coal reserves to generate most of its electricity, is on course to become the third-largest user of energy by 2030, behind the US and China.
Atlantis’s backers include Morgan Stanley and Statkraft, the Norweigan state utility. The company, which is run by Tim Cornelius, an Australian former pilot of manned submersibles, is also hoping to establish a £400 million project to build one of the world’s biggest tidal power plants in the Pentland Firth, off the Scottish coast.
The waterway, famous for its treacherous currents, has the potential to turn Scotland into “the Saudi Arabia of tidal energy”, according to Alex Salmond, the Scottish First Minister.
Proponents of tidal current power argue that it is the most reliable and predictable form of clean energy, even though the technology lags that used in wind power.
The gravitational pull of the moon and sun is predictable and moves horizontally around the earth, creating high and low tides. Tidal current energy takes the kinetic energy in these tidal currents and converts it into renewable electricity.
Sea water is 832 times denser than air and gives more kinetic energy than a 350 km/h wind. That means — in theory — that a smaller device is required to harness tidal current energy than to harness wind.
There is an estimated 50,000 megawatts of potential tidal current energy available worldwide. Britain, according to one estimate, could meet about 15 per cent of its total electricity needs with this source of energy.
India has emerged as a world leader in wind power, and Atlantis hopes to leverage the nation’s expertise in that field to forge ahead with a tidal project.
India has also recently stepped up its efforts to tap other renewable energy sources — most notably through a $19 billion plan to develop solar energy.
The national Solar Mission calls for India to generate 200 gigawatts of power from the sun by 2050. The entire world can generate about 14 gigawatts of solar power today.
It is not yet clear where the funding for the initiative will come from, but the scale of the solar project hints at the seriousness of India’s looming energy crisis. About 400 million Indians are not connected to the national grid.
Moreover, demand for electricity in India is likely to increase more than fivefold by 2030, according to a study by McKinsey, the consultants.
The same report said that the country could produce 6.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gases in 2030, compared with about 1.6 billion tonnes this year.

£13bn aid package to encourage poorer nations to cut greenhouse gases

Philip Webster in Port of Spain

An emergency £13 billion deal to persuade poorer nations to start cutting greenhouse gas emissions immediately was backed by the Commonwealth yesterday after being proposed by Gordon Brown to kickstart the Copenhagen climate-change process.
With the summit in Denmark nine days away, Mr Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy, the French President, who is also in Port of Spain, put the plan to Commonwealth leaders to combat what Mr Brown called a “climate emergency”.
He told the 53-member summit, many of whose members would benefit from the “payment by results” scheme, that the world could not wait until the treaty implementing the Copenhagen process came into effect.
Instead, he proposed that a new Copenhagen launch fund, backed by the European Union and the US, should start next year without waiting for the agreement reached in the Danish capital to be given legal effect.

The funding, to which Britain will contribute £800 million from the environment department’s “transformation fund”, will give incentives to developing countries to halt deforestation, develop low-carbon energy sources and prepare for the effects of a warmer climate. It will rise to $10 billion a year by the third year and will probably amount to a total of $22 billion.
Under the “payment by results” system those countries that showed they were taking action to halt climate change would receive more cash. Satellites would observe forests in places like Papua New Guinea and Guyana and incentives would be granted where they had been protected.
Mr Sarkozy has worked closely with Mr Brown on climate change and was invited to Trinidad at his suggestion to show the commitment of the richer countries to assisting the poorer ones. Mr Brown has spoken frequently to leaders in recent days about using the summit to air the emergency fund.
Mr Brown said that although the developed world was mostly responsible for high emissions, 90 per cent of emissions growth in the future would come from the developing nations. A climate-change deal could not work unless there was finance to help them to adapt and mitigate change.
He said the launch fund would allow the world to “get moving on climate change as quickly as possible”.
“It would make sure that some of the poorest countries, who are most affected by climate change . . . can get help so they can mitigate climate change and adopt and make the changes that are necessary,” he said in a round of broadcast interviews.
“That starts rolling the changes that are necessary to get the ambitious agreement we want at Copenhagen.”
Resources from the fund would be split 50-50 between support for poor countries to adapt to the effects of warmer climates and measures to limit the rise in greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere.
Adaptation measures could include the construction of sea walls and flood defences, the development of low-water agricultural methods for countries affected by drought and defences against hurricanes which are becoming more frequent in areas such as the Caribbean.
Meanwhile, a “substantial proportion” of the mitigation cash would be devoted to halting deforestation, to preserve the carbon “sinks” which are crucial to taking CO2 out of the atmosphere.
Other mitigation measures would include the development of low-carbon energy generation in developing countries, which are expected to provide 90 per cent of the future increase in carbon emissions if action is not taken to direct them away from fossil fuels.
The fund is expected to be overseen by an expert body under the umbrella of the United Nations, which would have access to data from international satellites to monitor any changes in tree cover and ensure that promises to preserve rainforest are kept. While the adaptation funds would be disbursed like conventional aid support, funds for mitigation would be linked to the “payment by results” system.
The EU has already proposed a ¤100 billion (£90 billion) fund for the period up to 2020, but Mr Brown believes it is necessary to get mechanisms in place more quickly to ensure that there is no delay in reversing the rise in global temperatures.
The Commonwealth summit is being presented by leaders as a springboard for Copenhagen. It brings together 53 nations, including not only leading industrialised states such as Britain and Australia, but emerging economic giants such as India, rainforest states such as Papua New Guinea and some of the poor countries which will be hit hardest by global warming, including the Maldives.
Britain has accepted that a legally binding treaty cannot be sealed at Copenhagen, but believes it can be finalised in months if a top-level political commitment can be reached by world leaders in the Danish capital.

Brazilian president says 'gringos' must pay to protect Amazon

Speaking before Amazon summit, Lula calls on industrialised countries to provide financial help to halt deforestation

Associated Press, Friday 27 November 2009 12.02 GMT
Brazil's president said today that "gringos" should pay Amazon nations to prevent deforestation, insisting rich western countries had caused much more environmental destruction than the loggers and farmers who cut and burn trees in the world's largest tropical rainforest.
President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was speaking before an Amazon summit at which delegates signed a declaration calling for financial help from the industrialised world to halt deforestation, which contributes to global warming.
"I don't want any gringo asking us to let an Amazon resident die of hunger under a tree," Lula said. "We want to preserve, but they will have to pay the price for this preservation because we never destroyed our forest like they mowed theirs down a century ago."
In Brazil, the word "gringo" generally refers to anyone from the northern hemisphere.
Lula convened the meeting to form a unified position on deforestation and climate change for seven Amazon countries before the Copenhagen climate summit. But the only leaders who attended were Guyana's Bharrat Jagdeo and France's Nicolas Sarkozy, representing French Guiana, leaving top Lula aides and environmentalists to admit the gathering will have a muted impact.
Other countries sent vice-presidents or ministers, and the presidents of Colombia and Venezuela embarrassed Brazil by cancelling at the last minute.
Sarkozy supported a recent proposal by Lula to create a financial transaction tax that would be used to build a fund to help developing countries protect their forests. Details will be discussed in Copenhagen.
Despite the lacklustre summit showing, Lula aides said it was important to drive home a message that the Amazon is home to 30 million people, most of whom depend on the forest's natural riches to eke out a living. About 25 million live in Brazil's portion.
"In Europe everyone has opinions about the Amazon, and there are people who think the Amazon is a zoo where you have to pay to enter," said Marco Aurelio Garcia, Lula's top foreign policy adviser. "They don't know there are 30 million who work there."
Brazil has managed to reduce Amazon destruction to about 7,000 square kilometres a year, the lowest level in decades. But that is still larger than the US state of Delaware.
The Brazilian Amazon is arguably the world's biggest natural defence against global warming, acting as an absorber of carbon dioxide. But it is also a big contributor to warming because about 75% of Brazil's emissions come from rainforest clearing, as vegetation burns and felled trees rot.
Brazil has an incentive to protect the Amazon because the new global climate agreement is expected to reward countries for "avoided deforestation" with cash or credits that can be traded on the global carbon market.
Norway will give Brazil $1bn (£600m) by 2015 to preserve the Amazon rainforest, as long as Latin America's largest country keeps trying to stop deforestation.
Norway was the first to supply cash to an Amazon preservation fund which Brazilian officials hope will raise $21bn to protect nature reserves, persuade loggers and farmers to stop destroying trees, and finance scientific and technological projects.
Brazilian environment minister Carlos Minc has said Japan, Sweden, Germany, South Korea and Switzerland are considering donating to the fund.