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Clinton’s Surprise Announcement Injects New Hope Into Copenhagen Talks

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton breathed new life into the floundering climate talks in Copenhagen this morning with a surprise announcement that the United States would work to help raise $100 billion a year by 2020 to help developing countries address the threat of climate change.

“Today I’d like to announce that, in the context of a strong accord in which all major economies stand behind meaningful mitigation actions and provide full transparency as to their implementation, the United States is prepared to work with other countries toward a goal of jointly mobilizing $100 billion a year by 2020 to address the climate change needs of developing countries,” Clinton told the climate negotiators. “We expect this funding will come from a wide variety of sources, public and private, bilateral and multilateral, including alternative sources of finance.”

The announcement revitalized the negotiations, after Chinese recalcitrance and other disagreements had threatened to derail them. “Hold tight,” said Yvo de Boer, the United Nations’ climate chief. “Mind the doors. The cable car is moving again.”

But as Brad Plumer points out, there are still two big hurdles to overcome before the $100 billion in aid becomes a reality: Chinese cooperation and congressional approval.

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