France awards climate grants to U.S.-based scientists on summit eve

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 11, 2017 11:46 AM

PARIS (Reuters) - Emmanuel Macron plans to award multi-year grants for several U.S.-based scientists to relocate to France, his office said on Monday on the eve of a climate summit hosted by the president to raise finances to counter global warming.

Macron unveiled the "Make our Planet Great Again" grants after President Donald Trump in June said he was pulling the United States out of an international accord to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that was brokered in Paris in 2015.

Macron repeatedly tried to persuade the U.S. leader to reverse his decision. In a statement, the Elysee Palace said 13 of the initial 18 grants would be awarded to scientists based in the United States. Macron will make a detailed announcement later on Monday evening.

At Tuesday's summit, Macron will urge wealthy nations to increase climate financing and urge investors to turn their backs on polluters in a bid to accelerate efforts to combat global warming.

French state-controlled utility EDF on Monday said it would invest 25 billion euros to develop 30 gigawatt of solar capacity in France between 2020 an 2035. Daily Newspaper Les Echos quoted the chief executive of Engie, Isabelle Kocher, as saying her company would invest one billion euros to improve the energy efficiency of buildings.

Separately, nine European energy companies including EDF, Italy's Enel, Spain's Iberdrola and Britain's SSE said they would include green bonds in their financing policies.

Developing nations say that the rich are not on track with a broader commitment in the Paris accord for wealthy economies to provide $100 billion a year by 2020 - from public and private sources alike - to help developing countries switch from fossil fuels to greener energy sources and adapt to the effects of climate change.

Oxfam estimated that there was only between $4 - $8 billion available for adaptation and that recent estimates showed the cost of helping emerging nations deal with rising sea levels, droughts, flooding and other effects of global warming could add up to $140 to 300 billion per year by 2030.

"Right now, the world's poorest people are getting only a tiny fraction of the help they desperately need to survive," Oxfam said in a statement.

"This year’s barrage of climate disasters showed that poor communities are often completely unprepared to deal with extreme weather."

(Reporting by Jean-Baptiste Vey; writing by Richard Lough; editing by John Irish and William Maclean)