Japan confirms $1.5 billion commitment for U.N. climate fund


Japan on Sunday confirmed plans to contribute up to $1.5 billion to the U.N.-backed Green Climate Fund, joining a U.S. pledge of $3 billion to mitigate the impact of global warming on developing nations.

The move was flagged by Japanese media ahead of a Group of 20 summit in Brisbane over the weekend, and was rubber-stamped in a statement by the White House after U.S. President Barack Obama met with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of the gathering.

“Making good on our commitment to support efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions and build climate resilience worldwide, the United States and Japan announced a total of up to $4.5 billion in pledges to the Green Climate Fund,” it said. “This includes up to $3 billion from the United States and up to $1.5 billion from Japan, subject to respective domestic procedures and based on strong contributions from other donors.

“Our pledges build on those already announced by Germany, France, and other donors, which include developed and developing countries,” the statement said.

The climate fund is a new mechanism for wealthy nations to help poorer ones become more environmentally friendly and to aid in bolstering their defense against the effects of climate change. France and Germany have each pledged to contribute $1 billion to the fund. Christiana Figueres, head of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, has called for an initial capitalization of $10 billion by year’s end.

Japan’s confirmation of its contribution followed three-way talks between Abe, Obama and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, a skeptic of man-made global warming who has been keen to keep the G-20 focused on economic issues.

Despite Abbott’s reluctance, climate change appeared set to be cited in the G-20 leaders’ final communique Sunday evening, after Obama breathed new life into global discussions on greenhouse gas emissions through a surprise pact with China last week.