PARIS – French President Emmanuel Macron is hosting an international summit Tuesday to mark the second anniversary of the Paris climate agreement, hoping to inject the pact with new energy after President Donald Trump announced the U.S. would withdraw from it.
The accord reached two years ago set goals for slowing the rate of climate change by reducing the emissions that contribute to melting Arctic ice, increasing sea levels and changing weather patterns across the globe.
While some critics have questioned whether the summit will accomplish more than drawing attention to France’s media-savvy president, celebrities, corporations, environmental groups and others are preparing to make a string of announcements there.
The issues expected to come up at the event range from research to corporate pledges.
Poor countries are waiting to hear how the United Nations’ goal of raising $100 billion dollars for climate-related measures will be achieved by 2020.
The target was set in 2009, but commitments so far from rich nations only will cover about two-thirds of the fund.
The money is intended to help developing countries invest in green energy projects and avoid the path taken by wealthy countries decades earlier that saw massive growth in the use of fossil fuels.
Scientists say ending fossil fuel use, also known as `decarbonization,’ needs to happen worldwide by 2050, but poor countries only would be able to reach the goal with financial help.
Climate campaigner Mohamed Adow of the group Christian Aid says one important step would be for the World Bank, which is co-hosting Tuesday’s meeting, to switch its investments from fossil fuels to renewable energy in developing countries.
Dozens of companies have signed a joint call for governments to maintain momentum on implementing the Paris accord and set long-term strategies for cutting carbon emissions.
The companies – including insurer Allianz, tire maker Michelin and consumer goods giant Unilever – said Monday they are committed to a greener economy that includes imposing levies on carbon emissions.
Allianz CEO Oliver Baete said in the statement that “business requires stable regulatory frameworks and an adequate price on carbon.”
Financial institutions such as Allianz also want greater transparency on climate-related data to help them make sound investment decisions, Baete said.
The Paris summit takes place while the American Geophysical Union is holding its fall meeting in New Orleans.
Scientists are expected to present new research on climate changes and ways to keep global temperatures from rising beyond 3.6 F.
Separately, Microsoft says it will let researchers use its artificial intelligence technology to monitor and model the planet’s climate.
The technology giant says its commitment – worth about $10 million a year – could also help companies use vast amounts of data to reduce carbon emissions, by reducing waste, making power grids more efficient and improving weather predictions.
Macron has invited U.S.-based climate scientists to apply for generous grants and relocate to France, a direct response to Trump’s rejection of the Paris accord.
The French president was announcing the first grant winners on Monday. Overall, the French government and research institutions plan to fund about 50 projects with $70 million.
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