By Madeline Chambers
BERLIN (Reuters) - Donor nations pledged a total $9.3 billion on Thursday to a U.N. fund to help developing countries tackle climate change, but environmental campaigners said the funds fell short of what is needed.
The U.N. Green Climate Fund (GCF) is a major part of a plan agreed in 2009 whereby rich countries agreed to mobilize $100 billion a year from both public and private sources from 2020 to help developing nations adapt to a changing global climate and reduce their own carbon emissions.
The United Nations has set an informal target of $10 billion in initial contributions this year, a goal that Germany - host of Thursday's donor conference - said was now within sight, but developing countries are pushing for $15 billion.
Greenpeace hailed the pledges as "a first and important step" but rapped Australia, Russia and others for making none.
"While climate change is developing faster than expected, the financial support for those who are the most affected still evolves at a snail`s pace," said Stefan Krug, head of the political unit of Greenpeace Germany.
Marlene Moses of Nauru, chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) at the U.N. climate talks, said:
"We are still well short of the $15 billion in initial contributions which we feel is needed to establish the GCF as the transformational funding mechanism that we agreed to."
The cash pledged will help emerging economies curb their own greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to changes such as heatwaves, mudslides and rising sea levels. It is seen as vital to unlock a U.N. climate deal meant to be agreed in late 2015 in Paris.
That deal will aim to limit a rise in average global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times. Global temperatures have already risen by about 0.9 C.
Thursday's pledges included money that had already been announced, such as up to $1.5 billion from Japan and up to $3 billion from the United States. New pledges included $1.1 billion from Britain and undisclosed amounts from Italy, Finland, New Zealand, Mongolia and Panama.
Officials said they expected Canada to join in by the end of the year and hoped Austria and Belgium would also contribute.
"This is a very important historic day," said Hela Cheikhrouhou, Executive Director of the Fund, describing the Berlin conference as "very fruitful".
(Additional reporting by Alister Doyle in Oslo; Editing by Gareth Jones)