Obama pledges $3B to help poor nations on climate

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States will give $3 billion to a

U.N.-established fund to help poorer vulnerable countries prepare for

a changing climate and develop cleaner energy, President Barack Obama

announced Saturday.

The United Nations is trying to raise at least $10 billion for its

Green Climate Fund to help developing nations adjust to rising seas,

warmer temperatures and more extreme weather. It also would help the

nations come up with energy sources that limit or reduce heat-trapping

carbon dioxide emissions from coal, oil and gas.

Obama said the money would help farmers plant more resilient crops,

governments to cut carbon dioxide emissions and communities to develop

better defenses against storm surges and other climate-related


But Obama said combatting climate change cannot be the work of

government alone. "Citizens— especially young people like you — have

to keep raising your voices, because you deserve to live your lives in

a world that is cleaner and healthier," he said while announcing the

pledge during a speech at a university in Brisbane, Australia.

The American pledge would be the biggest to date and would double

contributions to $6 billion, according to international environmental


France has promised $1 billion, with Germany pledging nearly as much.

Sweden, the Netherlands and Switzerland have all pledged at least $100

million, while Denmark, Norway, Mexico, Luxembourg, Czech Republic and

Indonesia have pledged lesser amounts, according to officials at Oxfam


The South Korea-based fund, which also accepts money from private

charities, was set up by the United Nations Framework Convention on

Climate Change.

It wasn't immediately clear where Obama planned to find the money.

Sen. Timothy Wirth, vice chairman of the United Nations Foundation and

a politician who has been on both House and Senate budget committees,

said he doesn't see how the Obama administration can get the money

without approval from a Republican Congress, which he said is unlikely

to happen.

But Wirth said that will work out because "almost all of this is going

to be done by the private sector."

The idea is eventually to have about $100 billion flowing to the

developing nations, he said.

In an effort to ensure other countries also chip in, the White House

said its $3 billion pledge was contingent on the U.S. contribution not

exceeding 30 percent of total confirmed pledges. The White House said

it expected the U.S. share would decline over time as more countries

join the effort.

"Symbolically, I think it shows bold action to keep advancing his

climate agenda" despite a Republican Congress that may not even

believe in global warming, said Paul Wapner, a professor of

international relations and environmental politics at American


Chip Knappenberger of the conservative Cato Institute said his

preference is for private money to go the fund. And if federal money

goes to the fund it should be more to help the nations adapt to a

changing climate rather than push greener energy sources, he said.

Along with several environmental activist groups, former Vice

President Al Gore cheered the announcement as "strong leadership,"

heading into intense climate negotiations for a new international

treaty next year.

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., who will likely be the new chairman of the

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, blasted the pledge in a

statement, saying it's part of more than $120 billion in spending on

climate change since the president took office: "President Obama's

pledge to give unelected bureaucrats at the U.N. $3 billion for

climate change initiatives is an unfortunate decision to not listen to

voters in this most recent election cycle."

In 2008, President George W. Bush pledged $2 billion to a similar fund.

The Obama administration said it is building on that pledge.

Kofi Oppong Kyekyeku

I am a Ghanaian Broadcast Journalist/Writer who has an interest in General News, Sports, Entertainment, Health, Lifestyle and many more.

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