China says cash from rich countries is as important as CO2 cuts to combat global warming

China led calls by emerging economies for the rich to raise financial aid to the poor as a precondition for a United Nations deal to combat global warming. However, European Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said it would be hard to treat promises for cash in the same legal way as cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases.

Many countries at U.N. climate negotiations from June 4-15 have welcomed news this week that the United States plans to slash emissions from power plants, but emerging nations said cash was just as important to unlock progress.

Developed nations agreed in 2009 to raise aid to developing nations to the $100 billion target by 2020 from an initial $10 billion a year from 2010-12. But austerity cuts in many nations mean they have not set clear milestones for raising aid between 2012 and 2019, money meant to go to everything from expanding the use of solar power plants to flood defences along vulnerable coastlines.

Last month, a “Green Climate Fund” – a U.N. body based in South Korea due to channel billions of dollars to developing nations – said it was ready to start accepting cash after agreeing details of how it will work. Donors will also meet in July, in a venue yet to be decided.

Peru’s Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, who will host a U.N. climate conference in late 2014, said he hoped for contributions for the Green Climate Fund of $10 billion this year.