U.N. launches Green Climate Fund with little in its coffers

(Reuters) – The Green Climate Fund, designed as the United Nations’ most important funding body in the battle on climate change in developing nations, launched its headquarters on Wednesday in South Korea, but uncertainty over finances clouded the event.

The launch was largely symbolic, as the Fund, set up by developed nations to channel most of the $100 billion they aim to spend each year by 2020, is not expected to be fully operational until the latter half of next year.

Rich nations, reluctant to stress their already fragile economies, have not paid up as scheduled. Now the Fund has just $40 million at its disposal, a sum promised by South Korea that must also cover administrative expenses.

“The Fund is on track to start its resource mobilization next year with a rapid and substantial initial capitalization, so that we can get the money flowing to the countries in greatest need,” said Jose Maria Sarte Salceda, co-chairman of the fund’s board.

The Fund will help pay for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and projects in poor nations to protect communities at risk from the effects of climate change, such as rising sea levels, prolonged droughts and damage to food crops.

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