Major Companies Pledge Climate Change Action at New York Summit
Climate change is causing more frequent and severe flooding, droughts, storms and heatwaves.
By Sebastien Malo
NEW YORK, Sept. 26 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) — A new investment fund for green businesses and a tool to measure emissions were among the pledges to help governments curb global warming at a summit on climate financing convened by the French president on Wednesday.
Emmanuel Macron called on government and business leaders to invest more in slowing down climate change as he opened the second annual "One Planet" summit in New York.
"We have to shift one third of the global financing to financing of climate change and new climate action," he said.
"So governments, the World Bank, all the development banks, business leaders and investors, it is our job. Everybody is waiting for us and everybody today wants us just to accelerate."
BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, said it would help structure a climate fund for investment in green sectors such as renewable energy and low-carbon transportation across Latin America, Asia, and Africa.
The French and German governments and large philanthropic organisations including The Hewlett Foundation have pledged initial funds to the Climate Finance Partnership, which organisers said would be set up next year.
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The one-day gathering in New York, where world leaders were gathered for the United Nations General Assembly, drew the leaders of global companies as well as more than two dozen heads of state and government.
The World Bank, which lends to developing countries, announced a platform to pledge $1 billion toward developing battery-storage technology.
Energy storage is becoming increasingly important as production of renewable energy rises, because the wind might not blow or the sun shine during the peak hours when most consumers turns on their lights and appliances.
Tech giant Google announced the launch of a tool to generate data on greenhouse gas emissions from road traffic and on the solar capacity of cities, which it captures through its popular mapping service Google Earth.
"If you cannot measure it you can't manage it," said Michael Bloomberg, the former New York mayor who is now the UN Secretary General's special envoy for Cities and Climate Change.
Cities worldwide account for more than 70% of carbon dioxide emissions.
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Climate change is causing more frequent and severe flooding, droughts, storms and heatwaves as average global temperatures rise to new records, sea ice melts in the Arctic and sea levels rise.
The second "One Planet" summit took place nearly three years after almost 200 governments agreed the Paris accord to end the fossil-fuel era this century and limit further global warming to well below 2 degrees above pre-industrial times.
US President Donald Trump weakened the pact last year when he said the United States, the world's second biggest greenhouse gas polluter after China, would pull out.
(Reporting by Sebastien Malo @sebastienmalo, Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit http://news.trust.org)