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CLIMATE CHANGE

French conference sees donors pledge billions for UN climate fund

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.

French conference sees donors pledge billions for UN climate fund
French Finance and Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire, who opened the conference.. Photo: AFP

“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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ENVIRONMENT

English-speaking churches in France launch climate campaign

English-speaking churches in France and across Europe have launched a massive environmental campaign ahead of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow next month.  

A chimney belches out smoke as a haze of pollution hangs over the city of Lyon in southeast France
Photo: Philippe Desmazes / AFP

The European Interfaith Climate Campaign is intended to promote ‘rapid, transformative change to avert climate catastrophe’. 

The American Church in Paris, Quakers of France, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Paris, the American International Church in London, and 0.6 Planet have teamed up to ‘work together to shed light on the systemic and structural issues blocking a sustainable future and climate justice for all people’, the group said in a statement.

Events taking place at the American Church in Paris include:

  • Climate Sunday-themed services on October 31st at 11am and 2pm
  • Children attending the church are creating “prayer boats” to go to COP26.
  • The founder of 0.6 Planet, Monica Bassett, will headline at a Zoom event on November 2nd between 7.30pm and 9pm to discuss her new life in a French ecovillage in the Dordogne, where she has drastically cut her consumption and carbon footprint.

The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Paris has a full programme as well:

  • Six Eco-Weeks Challenges and online conversations on Thursday evenings: from October 4th to November 12th.
  • Climate Sunday Service: in-person & live-streamed on October 17th, at 10:30am: “A Call for Change” (intergenerational focus)
  • Virtual Watch Party on Sunday, October 24th, at 11 am: “The Wisdom to Survive” documentary, followed by a on discussion: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/wisdomtosurvive
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