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Paris Summit Focused on Boosting Funding for Climate Change Fight 


French President Emmanuel Macron, right, meets with US businessman Michael Bloomberg, left, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, third left, and other philanthropists at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Dec. 12,

French President Emmanuel Macron has told more than 200 global investors and 50 world leaders in Paris the global community “is losing the battle” against climate change.

“It’s time to act and move faster and win this battle,” Macron said Tuesday at a summit to secure more funding to fight climate change.

Macron’s office announced a dozen initiatives designed to inject hundreds of millions of dollars in efforts to stem global warming, including the World Bank's decision to stop financing oil and gas exploration and extraction after 2019.

Bid to cut emissions

A coalition of 237 companies, including banking giant HSBC and French insurer AXA, announced a five-year initiative called “Climate Action 100+” that aims to pressure 100 of the largest greenhouse gas producers to cut emissions.

An estimated 20 companies joined a global alliance of 26 nations that have committed to phase out coal. The plan by the “Powering Past Coal Alliance” calls for traditional coal power to be phased out by 2030 in wealthy countries and by 2050 in other parts of the world.

Special envoy to the United Nations for climate change Michael Bloomberg addresses the media at the One Planet Summit, near Paris, Dec. 12, 2017.
Special envoy to the United Nations for climate change Michael Bloomberg addresses the media at the One Planet Summit, near Paris, Dec. 12, 2017.

The summit comes two years after nearly 200 nations agreed to the Paris climate accord, which calls for nations to limit greenhouse gas emissions and for rich nations to help developing countries deal with the impacts of climate change.

U.S. President Donald Trump was not among those invited to take part in the conference. Last year, Trump announced he was pulling out of the accord, saying it “disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries.” The U.S. is now the only country in the world to have rejected the global climate agreement.

Kerry attends summit

While the U.S. federal government stepped back from the global effort, many of the country's states and some cities have pledged to move forward with steps consistent with the agreement.

“We have 38 states that have renewable portfolio standard laws,” said former Secretary of State John Kerry, who is attending the summit. “We have 90 cities, the major cities in America, their mayors all committed to meeting Paris. So 80 percent of the population of America is in those 38 states that are committed, and we are going to stay on track.”

Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry talks to journalists during the One Planet Summit, near Paris, France, Dec. 12, 2017.
Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry talks to journalists during the One Planet Summit, near Paris, France, Dec. 12, 2017.

Scientists offered French grants

The European Union announced a new investment plan aimed at supporting renewable energy production, climate-friendly transportation, sustainable water and sanitation systems, as well as growth in sustainable agriculture.

The EU commissioner for climate action and energy, Miguel Arias Canete, also urged contributors to fulfill their commitments to provide $100 billion a year by 2020 to developing nations to help them utilize renewable energy sources instead of fossil fuels that boost carbon levels in the atmosphere.

Ahead of Tuesday’s summit, Macron awarded 18 scientists, including 13 from the United States, grants to relocate to France and carry out climate change research. He announced the initiative after Trump said the United States was withdrawing from the global accord, and the French leader played on Trump’s campaign slogan by naming his own program “Make Our Planet Great Again.”

“I refuse this double fatality, the one that says that there is this global warming that we can do nothing against and the one that says that this world is forced onto us and we cannot make profound changes,” Macron said. “But what you are showing here tonight, through your commitment, these projects that have been selected through your commitment on a daily basis is the exact opposite. We don’t want climate change and we want to produce and create jobs and do things differently if we decide so. There is no fatality.”

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