Melbourne, Dec.13 (ANI): Developing countries like India and China could force Australia to pay a hefty sum to enable them to cope with climate change in return for a deal in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Though Australia faces a budget deficit of about 50 billion Australian dollars in fiscal 2009-10, its Climate Change Minister Penny Wong told The Sunday Mail from Copenhagen that Australia might have to contribute to so-called climate "abatement" funds if India and China were to come into the climate-change tent.
"There are a range of figures flying around. Gordon Brown (UK Prime Minister) has proposed a 100 billion dollar mix of public and private money. We have not indicated a figure but we have indicated we're prepared to do our fair share," news.com.au quoted Senator Wong, as saying.
Opposition finance spokesman Barnaby Joyce, however, attacked the proposal.
"Essentially, this Copenhagen plan means we borrow money from places like China to pay them to help them develop. I don't think they need our help. They're doing a very good job on their own," he said.
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has previously backed a separate USD 10 billion climate fund in talks with US President Barack Obama and Brown.
Reports from Copenhagen say industrialised countries favour a target of 50 per cent reduction of global carbon emissions by 2020 (compared with 1990 levels), but major emerging economies led by China and India have baulked at any such target unless it is made clear that rich countries will assume most of the burden. ANI)