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Rich countries not releasing climate change aid

London — Less than a tenth of the funds promised to developing countries by rich nations to help them adapt to global warming has actually been delivered, a study by The Guardian newspaper showed on Saturday.

The paper, which used data compiled by the Overseas Development Institute think tank and confirmed by the United Nations, found that 18 billion dollars (13.9 billion euros) had been pledged by rich countries over the past seven years, but less than 900 million dollars has been released.

"It is poisoning the UN negotiations," Bernarditas Muller, chief negotiator for the Group of 77 developing nations and China, was quoted as saying in the daily, referring to negotiations for a successor agreement on climate change to the Kyoto Protocol.

"What (the rich countries) offer … is derisory, the equivalent of one banker’s bonus."

The Guardian said that 12 rich countries, including Britain, Germany, Japan and the United States, had pledged 6.1 billion dollars to two World Bank climate investment funds, but no money has yet been deposited in them.

In separate bilateral agreements, Japan has pledged 10 billion dollars over five years but none has been released, and Spain has promised 528 million dollars, but just 85 million dollars has been deposited.

Britain, meanwhile, has pledged 800 million pounds (890 million euros, 1.2 billion dollars) in loans for a World Bank fund, 50 million pounds to help support the Congo basin forests, and 75 million pounds for Bangladesh, but no payments have reached their recipients.

"It is the world’s poorest who suffer most and we expect the UK’s first contribution to global climate change funds to take place imminently," a spokesman for Britain’s Department for International Development told the paper.