Germany Pledges $1 Billion to UN Green Climate Fund

German Chancellor Angela Merkel promised 750 million euros ($1 billion) to the United Nations Green Climate Fund, the first major pledge it has received.

The fund, designed to channel climate aid to poor nations, has so far only had seed capital to help set itself up. In May, it opened up for big donations after completing rules on how it will collect and disburse money. Executive Director Hela Cheikhrouhou said in an interview last month that she’s seeking to raise as much as $15 billion by year-end.

“I can speak for Germany that we take our responsibilities seriously,” Merkel said when announcing the funding during a July 14 speech in Berlin. She said she hopes other nations will also chip in “appropriate amounts.”

The fund was established in December 2011 by UN climate envoys from more than 190 nations and has taken 3 1/2 years to be made operational. It aims to channel aid from industrialized countries into projects in developing nations that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect against the effects of climate change.

The funding has been included in Germany’s federal budget for 2014 and can be paid out this year and next. The money is provisionally earmarked as additional to the 1.8 billion euros that Germany is spending on international climate programs, Environment Ministry spokeswoman Nicole Scharfschwerdt said by phone today.

“This announcement ends the deafening silence we’ve had so far around the empty Green Climate Fund that is supposed to support poor countries in the battle against climate change,” Jan Kowalzig, a campaigner with the development charity Oxfam said in an e-mailed statement. “Now others must follow suit.”

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