The UN Special Envoy for Climate Action, Michael Bloomberg, announced on Sunday a contribution of $4.5 million to the Organization’s Climate Change Secretariat, the UNFCCC.
The billionaire philanthropist and former Mayor of New York City, pledged last June to make up the Secretariat’s funding shortfall, caused by US President Donald Trump’s announced withdrawal from the historic 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.
The contribution will go towards general operations, including assisting countries to meet targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions in line with the accord, agreed by 193 States in the French capital.
In late March, the United States Congress announced that it was cutting funding for this year to the UNFCCC by $4.5 million; from $7.5 million, down to $3 million, according to a media release from Bloomberg Philanthropies.
Mr. Bloomberg made the announcement of his contribution on the CBS television programme, ‘Face the Nation’, saying that “America made a commitment and as an American, if the government’s not going to do it, we all have a responsibility.”
UN Secretary-General António Guterres said via Twitter that he was “very grateful to Michael Bloomberg, not only for his generous support to the United Nations, but also for his global leadership on climate action.”
The UNFCCC said that with many contributions from signatories to the agreement still outstanding and “a decline in voluntary contributions” the funding was arriving at “a critical time”.
It “strengthens UN Climate Change’s capacity to support developing countries” and allowed more “strategic outreach to promote climate action among stakeholders including cities, regions, business and civil society,” said the Secretariat statement.
The UNFCCC’s Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa, said that “when countries adopted the historic Paris Agreement to limit global temperature rise, they also recognized that achieving that goal would take broad-based global climate action in all sectors, public and private.”
“I welcome this generous contribution from Bloomberg Philanthropies as an important, practical recognition of our need to work together and to step up our response to climate change,” she added.
Mr. Bloomberg added that despite the US withdrawl from the Paris Agreement and funding cuts, he was confident that the US would “meet its commitment by 2025 to reduce greenhouse gases by an agreed amount, and if we do it, hopefully other countries will do it as well.”