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France Announces Climate Change Aid for Africa

  • Lisa Bryant

French President Francois Hollande, right, speaks with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as they attend "The Climate Challenge and African solutions" event during the COP21, the UN Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, north of Paris, Dec. 1, 2015.

French President Francois Hollande, right, speaks with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as they attend "The Climate Challenge and African solutions" event during the COP21, the UN Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, north of Paris, Dec. 1, 2015.

France announced it will provide $2 billion to help develop renewable energy in Africa as a second day of climate talks got underway outside Paris as negotiators race to reach a climate deal by the end of next week.

About $6.4 billion, over the next four years, is the amount French President Francois Hollande has promised to help with electrification in Africa. Of that, one third is to help the continent develop renewable energy.

Hollande’s announcement came during a meeting with about a dozen African leaders to discuss climate threats in their countries. He also announced about $1.5 billion for an African Union project called the Great Green Wall to help people plant trees and adapt to an encroaching Sahara desert.

U.S. President Barack Obama poses for a family photo with leaders of island nations under threat by rising sea levels during the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) in Paris, Dec. 1, 2015.

U.S. President Barack Obama poses for a family photo with leaders of island nations under threat by rising sea levels during the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) in Paris, Dec. 1, 2015.

The announcements were made as world leaders began heading home, leaving their negotiators to deal with the tough job of finding consensus on a climate plan.

Poorer nations and cultures were in the spotlight on Tuesday. Indigenous people described how climate threats endanger their cultures. Britain’s Prince Charles called for better protection of the world’s forests.

Much of the focus was on Africa, which is suffering the fallout of greenhouse gas emissions, but contributing little to their growth. The World Bank is calling for “climate justice” for the continent.

Speaking Monday, Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou described the effects of climate change in his country: extreme temperatures, drought and floods, a dying lake Chad and the Niger River that is silting up. He said Niger and other Sahel countries were waiting for a strong response from the international community.

A group of 43 countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change are now calling for a new deal to limit global warming to 1.5º C above pre-industrial levels, rather than the two-degree target the Paris meeting hopes to reach.

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