BRISBANE, Australia, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- The United States will pledge up to $3 billion to slow the effects of climate change in developing countries, the White House announced Friday.
The plan, to help the countries invest in clean energy production and deal with rising water levels and changing weather patterns, will be formally rolled out by President Barack Obama at the G-20 summit, beginning this weekend in Brisbane, Australia.
The funding of at least $2.5 billion, in the next four years, and up to a maximum of $3 billion, will be in the form of a contribution to the United Nations Green Climate Fund. The U.S. contribution will be capped at 30 percent of the fund, with the maximum amount given if the fund's $10 million goal is reached, the British newspaper The Guardian reported Friday.
The announcement comes after the United States and China, the world's two largest polluters, agreed earlier this week at Beijing's APEC summit to cooperate on reduction of airborne carbon emissions, a pact regarded as a breakthrough in international cooperation. It is also a signal that Obama is resolute in his commitment to acting on climate change, despite recent gains made by the opposition Republican Party in the U.S. Congress.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to announce a similar but smaller pledge to the climate fund during the Brisbane summit, but his stance and Obama's could cause embarrassment for Australia, the host country. Australia and Canada are among countries with no announced plans to contribute to the fund, and the Australian government seeks to focus on mutual economic issues during the summit.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, asked about the fund last year prior to a U.N. climate meeting in Warsaw, Poland, said, "We're not going to make any contributions to that." Abbott has disparaged the fund, comparing it to a domestic fund, the Clean Energy Finance Corp., promoted by Bob Brown of Australia's Green Party.
"One thing the current government will never do is say one thing at home and a different thing abroad. We are committed to dismantling the Bob Brown bank at home so it would be impossible for us to support a Bob Brown bank on an international scale," Abbott told an Australian newspaper.