French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday pledged to fill the hole left in the finances of the United Nations climate research body by US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal of his country’s financial support.
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was on the brink of a funding crisis after President Trump said he would end the $2 million US contribution, which accounted for 45% of the organization’s budget in 2016.
However, in his address to the 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP23) in Bonn, Germany, Macron said France would step forward to make up the shortfall.
“We need scientific information which is constantly nourished to ensure clear decision making. The IPCC is one of the major components of this work,” the French president said.
“However, it is threatened today by the decision of the US not to guarantee funding for it. Therefore, I propose that the EU replaces the US, and France will meet that challenge.”
Germany has already pledged an extra €50 million to the Adaptation Fund this year.
The country’s environment minister, Barbara Hendricks, had used her speech at the inaugural ceremony of the climate summit on November 6 to urge the international community to focus more on vulnerable countries.
Harjeet Singh, the global lead on climate change for ActionAid International, welcomed the leadership shown by the European powers.
“Germany’s announcement of contribution for adaptation is extremely welcome,” he said. “Macron’s speech recognized the mounting climate challenge and impacts, but his words now need to be followed by clear commitments.
Harjeet said vulnerable countries need more than “ad-hoc handouts”.
“They need a fair and robust system that can allow them to prepare for climate impacts and help victims. Unfortunately, climate change is going to be a long-term problem, and we need serious solutions that provide lasting help," he said.