British billionaire Richard Branson has pledged $3 billion over the next decade to combat global warming.

The Virgin Group owner announced his commitment Thursday at a charity conference held by former U.S. President Bill Clinton in New York. Branson said profits from Virgin's transportation and airline sectors will fund the contribution.

Mr. Clinton hosts the Global Initiative each year to generate funds and ideas to stop poverty, ethnic and religious conflict, global health problems and climate change.

This year, the former president spoke to present and former heads of state, business leaders and First Lady Laura Bush.

On Wednesday, Mrs. Bush announced a $10-million U.S. government contribution to distribute water pumping systems in sub-Saharan Africa. The pumps employ a merry-go-round powered by children to distribute and store clean water.

Many of the participants at the Global Initiative conference also are attending the United Nations General Assembly. They include Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, Bolivian President Evo Morales, Mexican President Vicente Fox and Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

Since leaving office in January 2001, Mr. Clinton has been leading efforts by his William J. Clinton Foundation to raise money to improve AIDS awareness and health security, and to support racial, ethnic and religious reconciliation.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, Bloomberg and Reuters.