President Joe Biden has announced plans to increase U.S. funding to help developing countries fight climate change and curb deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest during a meeting with leaders from the world’s largest economies.

During a virtual meeting of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, Biden urged his counterparts to be ambitious in setting goals to reduce emissions and meet a target of limiting overall global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. “We’re at a moment of great peril but also great possibilities, serious possibilities,” Biden said.

The countries that take part in the forum account for about 80% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and global gross domestic product. Biden announced a U.S. contribution of $1 billion to the Green Climate Fund, which finances projects on clean energy and climate change resilience in developing countries, doubling the overall U.S. contribution.

“The impacts of climate change will be felt the most by those who have contributed the least to the problem, including developing nations,” Biden said.

Biden also announced plans to request $500 million over five years to contribute to the Amazon Fund, which works to combat deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, and related activities. Brazil welcomed the pledge.

“It is obviously a great achievement, both for what it means to have the United States contributing to a fund like the Amazon Fund and for the volume of resources to be contributed,” said Brazil’s Environment Minister Marina Silva.

Biden’s announcement comes during a week of tension between the U.S. and Brazil after the latter’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva called for Western powers to stop supplying arms to Ukraine and said Washington was encouraging the fighting between Ukraine and Russia.

Biden, who has made fighting climate change one of his top policy priorities, has set a goal of reducing U.S. emissions 50%-52% by 2030 compared with 2005 levels.

In addition, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced a new European Union-led initiative to develop new global targets for energy efficiency and renewable energy alongside the International Energy Agency, in time for a global summit on climate change in November.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on rich countries to reach net zero emissions by 2040, a decade before the goal set in the Paris climate agreement, and developing countries to hit that milestone by 2050. He also called for OECD countries to phase out coal by 2030 and 2040 in all other countries and end all licensing or funding of new fossil fuel projects.


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