Biden pledges extra $11bn for poorer countries to tackle climate crisis

21 September 2021, 19:13 | Updated: 21 September 2021, 20:49

Biden spoke at the UN headquarters in New York
Biden spoke at the UN headquarters in New York. Picture: dpa picture alliance/Alamy Live News

By Emma Soteriou

President Joe Biden has announced an increase in funding for developing countries in an attempt to tackle the climate crisis.

Mr Biden made the announcement during his speech at the UN General Assembly in New York, acknowledging the fact "we're fast approaching a point of no return".

He told the summit that he intended to double funds, bringing the US's total to $11.4 billion (£8.3 billion) in the long-promised goal of delivering $100 billion (£73 billion) a year for developing countries to deal with the crisis.

Mr Biden said: "Scientists and experts are telling us that we're fast approaching a point of no return.

"To keep within our reach the vital goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C, every nation needs to bring the highest possible ambitions to the table when we meet in Glasgow for Cop26, and then have to keep raising our collective ambition over time."

Speaking about the increased funding, he added: "This will make the United States a leader in public climate finance.

"With our added support, together with increased private capital, and from other donors, we'll be able to meet the goal of mobilising 100 billion to support climate action in developing nations."

He also said the US would make a $10 billion commitment to "end hunger" in poorer countries.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomed Biden's climate funding pledge as a "very good start" that takes them "a long way towards the goal".

Speaking to reporters on the platform at Washington DC's Union Station, he said: "This is very good news in the sense the United States has stepped up to the plate with a massive contribution.

"That's a very, very good start. It means we're a long way towards the goal we need to achieve, but there's still a long way to go.

"There's no question that this American action today has been a big lift and will really help us to get there."

China has also pledged to do more to step up and support developing countries.

The country "has pledged an additional three billion US dollars of international assistance in the next three years to support developing countries in responding to COVID-19 and promoting economic and social recovery", President Xi Jinping said at the UN headquarters.

It comes after Mr Johnson pushed for leaders to live up to their commitment - which was first made at climate talks in Copenhagen in 2009 - on Monday.

The pledge is seen as key to securing a successful outcome at the UN's Cop26 summit in November, where countries are under pressure to increase action to avoid the worst impacts of an overheating world.