US to double climate change finance to poorer nations, says Biden

US News

The US will again double the money it gives to help developing nations respond to climate change, President Biden has announced.

Mr Biden said in April that America would double its contribution to $5.7bn (£4.2bn), but speaking at the United Nations General Assembly he said it would increase again to over $11bn (£8bn).

In his first appearance at the UN since taking office in January, the president said he would work with the US Congress to secure the extra money.

Mr Biden hopes this commitment, along with increased private finance and contributions from other donors, will help developed countries meet the long-promised goal of delivering $100bn (£73bn) a year for developing countries to deal with the crisis.

The pledge was made in 2009 and was supposed to be achieved by 2020, but was missed by about $20bn, with the greatest shortfall coming from the US, according to ODI analysis.

The news will likely be welcomed by the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson who has used the Assembly to galvanise commitments on climate finance ahead of COP26, crucial climate talks hosted in Glasgow in November.

Meeting the climate finance pledge is seen as key to securing a successful outcome to COP26, where developing countries – who have usually done the least to contribute to climate change – will be reluctant to engage and make ambitious climate pledges without sufficient funding help.

More on Joe Biden

President Biden told the UN the world must “work together as never before” in a year that has “brought widespread death and devastation from the borderless climate crisis” in the form of “extreme weather events… in every part of the world”.

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PM: COP26 a ‘turning point for the world’

“Scientists and experts are telling us that we’re fast approaching a point of no return,” warned the president.

He laid down the gauntlet to other nations, urging every state to “bring their highest possible ambition to the table” at COP26 in order to “keep within our reach the vital goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C”.

Mr Biden has been keen to re-establish America’s prime position on the world stage, as well as international alliances, after years of “America First” policies under Donald Trump.

He moved to reinstate the US commitment to the Paris climate agreement just hours after being sworn in.

Many more leaders will address the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, including Iran’s recently elected hardline president Ebrahim Raisi, and Chinese President Xi Jinping – who will give a pre-recorded video address.

Analysis by Hannah Thomas-Peter, Climate change correspondent

Joe Biden’s announcement that he is doubling America’s climate finance funding to over $11bn a year will be hailed by many as a breakthrough moment in the fight against climate change.

The new money helps close the roughly $20bn shortfall between what has been promised and what has been delivered to developing nations already dealing with the worst effects of global warming.

It is no exaggeration, as far as many negotiators will be concerned, to say that this injection of cash might keep COP26 from failure – such was the fury of those shortchanged lower income countries.

But the devil, as always, is in the detail.

And there is still a $15bn gap that needs to be filled. Will America’s new outward looking attitude and generosity during this decisive decade for climate change unlock generosity from other nations?

We won’t know until COP26 is nearer.

Meanwhile, other intractable problems remain, well,
intractable.

Agreement from big polluters like China and India on the detail of phasing out coal remains elusive.

We actually don’t even know if President Xi Jinping will attend in person.

And no one can decide on how global carbon markets should work.

Watch the Daily Climate Show at 6.30pm Monday to Friday on Sky News, the Sky News website and app, on YouTube and Twitter.

The show investigates how global warming is changing our landscape and highlights solutions to the crisis.

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