French President Emmanuel Macron gathered business leaders and 50 world leaders in Paris for a summit Tuesday focused on boosting funding to fight climate change.
The summit comes two years after nearly 200 nations agreed to the Paris climate accord, which calls for nations to limit greenhouse gas emissions and for rich countries to help developing countries deal with the impacts of climate change.
U.S. President Donald Trump was not among those invited to take part in the conference. Last year, Trump announced was pulling out of the accord saying it “disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries.”
While the U.S. federal government stepped back from the global effort, many of the country’s states and some cities have pledged to move forward with steps consistent with the agreement.
“We have 38 states that have renewable portfolio standard laws,” said former Secretary of State John Kerry, who is attending the summit. “We have 90 cities, the major cities in America, their mayors all committed to meeting Paris. So 80 percent of the population of American is in those 38 states that are committed, and we are going to stay on track.”
The European Union announced a new investment plan aimed at supporting renewable energy production, climate-friendly transportation, sustainable water and sanitation systems, as well as growth in sustainable agriculture.
EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Canete also urged contributors to fulfill their commitments to provide $100 billion a year by 2020 to developing nations to help them utilize renewable energy sources instead of fossil fuels that boost carbon levels in the atmosphere.
Also Tuesday, a group of 225 investors launched an initiative to push 100 of the world’s largest greenhouse gas-emitting companies to align their business plans with the goals of the Paris climate agreement.
“In few short months a substantial community of institutional investors have coalesced around this initiative because they want to send an unequivocal signal directly to companies that they will be holding them accountable in order to secure nothing less than bold corporate action to improve governance, curb emissions, and increase disclosure to swiftly address the greatest challenge of our time,” said Andrew Gray, senior manager of investments governance at Australian Super.
Ahead of Tuesday’s summit, Macron awarded 18 scientists, including 13 from the United States, grants to relocate to France and carry out climate change research. He announced the initiative after Trump said the United States was withdrawing from the global accord, and the French leader played on Trump’s campaign slogan by naming his own program “Make Our Planet Great Again.”
“I refuse this double fatality, the one that says that there is this global warming that we can do nothing against and the one that says that this world is forced onto us and we cannot make profound changes,” Macron said. “But what you are showing here tonight, through your commitment, these projects that have been selected through your commitment on a daily basis is the exact opposite. We don’t want climate change and we want to produce and create jobs and do things differently if we decide so. There is no fatality.”