EU pledges 4 billion euros more in climate funds for poorer countries

by Reuters
Wednesday, 15 September 2021 10:14 GMT

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivers a speech during a debate on "The State of the European Union" at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, September 15, 2021. REUTERS/Yves Herman

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European Commission president urges the United States to step up too, saying that closing the finance gap together would send a strong global signal on climate leadership

By Kate Abnett

STRASBOURG, Sept 15 (Reuters) - The European Union on Wednesday pledged to increase financial support to help poorer countries fight climate change and adapt to its impacts, and called on the United States also to step up.

"We will now propose an additional 4 billion euros for climate finance until 2027," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a policy speech at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

"But we expect the United States and our partners to step up too. This is vital, because closing the climate finance gap together, the U.S. and the European Union, would be such a strong signal for global climate leadership."

The EU already contributes $25 billion per year in climate funding, von der Leyen said.

Climate finance is expected to be a decisive issue at the United Nations' COP26 summit in November, where world leaders will attempt to agree commitments to cut emissions faster to try to stave off catastrophic climate change.

With seven weeks to go until COP26, money remains a sore point.

Rich countries have so far failed to deliver their 2009 pledge to provide $100 billion per year in climate finance to poorer countries by 2020.

Without support from wealthy nations, developing countries say they cannot make the huge investments required to wean their economies off fossil fuels and onto clean energy, or bolster their infrastructure to cope with climate impacts.

Government officials in India - the world's fourth-biggest emitter of the greenhouse gases that warm the planet after China, the United States and the EU - have said any further commitment to reduce their country's carbon footprint will depend on funding from rich countries.

The United States pledged in April to double its public climate finance for developing countries by 2024 compared to average levels during the Obama administration, though experts and campaigners are urging the world's biggest economy to do more.

Wealthy countries together contributed nearly $80 billion in 2018. The European Union and its member countries are, taken together, the biggest provider of such funding, according to the OECD.

Von der Leyen said the EU would also double its international funding to protect nature and halt the decline of the world's biodiversity, without specifying an amount.

(Reporting by Kate Abnett; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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