Fiona Harvey in Paris
Tuesday 12 December 2017 17.57 GMT
The European commission has announced funding of €9bn (£8bn) for action on climate change, one of a flurry of measures from governments, businesses and investors aimed at achieving the goals of the 2015 Paris agreement.
The EU funds will form part of the bloc’s External Investment Plan, and will be focused on sustainable cities, clean energy and sustainable agriculture. The announcement was made at the One Planet Summit in Paris on Tuesday, held to mark the second anniversary of the landmark 2015 pact.
French president Emmanuel Macron hailed the progress made at the event and said it was possible to create alternatives to the fossil-fuel driven economy, but that more effort was needed globally.
Miguel Arias Cañete, commissioner for climate action and energy for the EU, said the Paris agreement was already resulting in more investment flowing to moves to combat global warming. He said: “These kinds of investments are of critical importance if we are to move from aspirations to action. The EU’s plan will scale up much-needed investments across Africa and the EU neighbourhood region.”
He said new jobs would be created, and the knock-on effects would include poverty reduction, improved health and better access to technology in poorer regions.
Neven Mimica, commissioner for international cooperation and development, added that the aims included supporting the digitalisation of small and medium-sized companies, essential for sustainable development and reducing poverty.
The EU and its member states are the world’s biggest providers of climate finance, with a total of more than €20bn provided to developing countries last year.
Other measures unveiled at the conference included large companies, such as the French insurer Axa and the ING bank, partially divesting from fossil fuels, and local governments from across the world signing up to improved goals on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
Theresa May, the UK prime minister, said developed countries had a responsibility to help the world’s poor adapt to the expected ravages of climate change, and pledged £140m to poor countries to help them do so.