macron one planet summit

One Planet summit: Macron and May call for greater global action on climate change

Image credit: reuters

On the second anniversary of the Paris Agreement, French President Emmanuel Macron has called for large companies and wealthier countries to do more to support the developing world in combating the worst impacts of climate change.

Macron wants to demonstrate that progress is being made towards the goals set out in the treaty signed by 200 countries in 2015 despite Donald Trump’s announcement in June that he will pull the US out of the agreement altogether. 

He described Trump’s decision as a “deep wake-up call for the private sector” to take action to prevent the most extreme damage incurred by climate change.

“If we decide not to move and not change our way to produce, to invest, to behave, we will be responsible for billions of victims,” he said.

Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister Theresa May has announced £140m of new aid funding which is being targeted to help the world’s poorest communities build resilience to extreme weather events caused by global warming.

The UK will give an extra £15m to help Caribbean island state Dominica recover from the devastation of Hurricane Maria in September, as well as a further £87m for poor communities fighting against illegal logging.

The announcements come as Macron hosts the “One Planet” summit, which May will be attending.

Speaking ahead of her visit to Paris, May said: “Tackling climate change and mitigating its effects for the world’s poorest are among the most critical challenges that we face. That is why I am joining other world leaders in Paris today for the One Planet Summit and committing to stand firmly with those on the front line of extreme weather and rising sea levels.

Developing nations say the rich are not on track with a broader commitment in the Paris accord to provide $100bn a year by 2020 - from public and private sources alike - to help them switch from fossil fuels to greener energy sources and adapt to the effects of climate change.

Although Macron has said that what is missing are concrete projects with real financing, no internationally binding commitments will be announced.

Some 50 world leaders are due to attend the Paris meeting, including Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and leaders of states at the sharp end of climate change such as Chad, Madagascar and Peru.

The United States will send only an official delegation from the Paris Embassy, but superstars Leonardo Di Caprio and Arnold Schwarzenegger and California Governor Jerry Brown, leader of the world’s sixth largest economy, are due to champion a more concerted effort to tackle global warming.

There will be a focus on how public and private financial institutions can mobilise more money and how investors can pressure corporate giants to shift towards more ecologically friendly strategies.

“The missing piece of the jigsaw is the funding to help the world’s poorer countries access clean energy so they don’t follow the fossil fuel-powered path of the rich world,” said Mohamed Adow, charity Christian Aid’s lead on climate change.

“Without adequate finance, there is no way developing countries can deal with climate change or decarbonise fast enough to deliver the Paris goals.”

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