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French conference sees donors pledge billions for UN climate fund

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French conference sees donors pledge billions for UN climate fund
French Finance and Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire, who opened the conference.. Photo: AFP
08:55 CEST+02:00
Developed countries on Friday pledged nearly $10 billion for the UN's flagship climate change fund, offsetting the impact of US President Donald Trump's decision to quit the Paris Agreement against global warming.

"I am very happy to announce that we have closed this conference with an envelope of $9.8 billion," Odile Renaud-Basso, director of the French Treasury, told journalists after the latest financing round for the Green Climate Fund in Paris.

It exceeded the $9.3 billion pledged at the previous conference in 2014, of which only $7.2 billion has come through so far.

The United States had pledged $3 billion but Trump's decision to quit the 2015 Paris accord meant just $1 billion was actually paid.

Opening the conference, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the new pledges were "ambitious, despite the United States' withdrawal from the Paris Agreement."

Several of the 27 donor countries doubled their pledges, including France, Germany and Britain as well as smaller economies like Sweden, New Zealand and Poland.

Japan, which again pledged $1.5 billion, remains the largest single contributor with a total of $3 billion since the fund's creation in 2010.

"The coming years are critical as we empower our partners to innovate, accelerate and scale up climate investments that match the pace and urgency of the climate crisis," fund director Yannick Glemarec said in a statement.

The fund is the main financing tool for the Paris Agreement, which calls for capping the rise in global temperatures at "well below" two degrees Celsius, and 1.5°C if possible.

The treaty calls for billions of dollars annually for poor nations already coping with floods, heatwaves, rising seas and superstorms made worse by climate change.

READ ALSO: This is how climate change is affecting France's Mont Blanc mountain

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