U.S. President Joe Biden participates in a virtual meeting of the Major Economies Forum (MEF) on Energy and Climate in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus April 20, 2023 in Washington, DC. Countries that make up the MEF are responsible for roughly 80 percent of both global gross domestic product (GDP) and greenhouse gas emissions.
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President Joe Biden announced plans to boost U.S. funding to slash deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest and to help developing countries combat climate change during a meeting with world leaders on Thursday.
The president, during a virtual meeting with the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, committed $500 million over five years to reduce deforestation in Brazil. The move would make the U.S. one of the biggest contributors to the Amazon Fund, a conservation program established over a decade ago. However, this investment would require Congressional approval.
Biden also pledged $1 billion to the Green Climate Fund, a United Nations-led program aimed to help developing countries become more resilient to climate change and transition to clean energy sources. The funding would double the country’s overall contribution.
The Biden administration is aiming to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 and has urged developed countries to provide international climate assistance to poorer nations. The countries convening at the forum account for roughly 80% of global greenhouse gas emissions and global gross domestic product, the White House said.
“The impacts of climate change will be felt the most by those who have contributed the least to the problem, including developing nations,” Biden told leaders. “As large economies and large emitters, we must step up and support these economies.”
The funding comes after the president in 2021 pledged to work with Congress to quadruple U.S. climate support for developing countries to $11.4 billion each year by 2024. The administration is not close to reaching that goal. The U.S. last year approved only $1 billion to help poorer countries deal with climate change.
“We’re at a moment of great peril but also great possibilities, serious possibilities,” Biden said. “With the right commitment and follow-through from every nation on the — in this room, in this — on this call, the goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees can stay within reach.”
The president’s request for additional climate funding will likely face strong opposition from the Republican-controlled House.
Manish Bapna, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement that the administration’s pledge to the Green Climate Fund is “an important contribution toward paying down the environmental debt the United States and other wealthy countries must shoulder to support vulnerable communities worldwide.”
Developing countries have pushed for increased aid to help curb emissions and build climate resilience, arguing that wealthy countries like the U.S. are responsible for much of the climate-related destruction triggered by their domestic emissions.
“This money will provide urgently needed climate finance for the most vulnerable countries in the world,” Henry Gonzalez, executive director of the Green Climate Fund, said in a statement.
The meeting on Thursday was the fourth time the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate has met since the president took office.
The Major Economies Forum includes Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Egypt, the European Commission, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and Vietnam.
leaders join the fourth virtual leader-level meeting of the Major Economies Forum (MEF) on Energy and Climate in the South Court Auditorium next to the White House in Washington, DC, on April 20, 2023.
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