US pledges climate aid for cities, more private sector finance

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On Wednesday, the head of US aid promised to support around twenty developing cities in the face of climate change and announced more than $2 billion in new funding for adaptation from the private sector.

Samantha Power, Administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), is in Dubai for COP28, where countries are wrangling over whether to pledge to phase out fossil fuels, which are considered to be responsible for exacerbating climate change.

USAID has pledged $53 million to help 23 cities in developing countries switch to low-carbon, climate-resilient activities such as electric vehicles.

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These cities include the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek, the western Indian city of Rajkot, Mbombela in South Africa, and Hermosillo and Mérida in Mexico.

Worldwide, urban areas are responsible for three quarters of total carbon emissions.

USAID has also announced the mobilisation of an additional 2.3 billion dollars in private sector investments as part of an initiative by President Joe Biden to support projects for early warning systems, resilient food infrastructures and new financial products.

Horn of Africa

Twenty-one companies have recently pledged to finance this plan, including IBM and Visa, USAID announced, following the accession of ten founding members in 2022 at COP27 in Egypt.

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Ms Power, the latest senior US official to join chief negotiator John Kerry in marathon negotiations, is focusing her efforts on helping developing countries adapt to climate change.”COP28 comes at the end of another year in which people around the world have seen their lives turned upside down by record temperatures and extreme weather”, said

Ms Power, giving as examples “the catastrophic drought and now devastating floods in the Horn of Africa” as well as “the hottest summer” ever measured on Earth.”We need to do more to tackle the climate crisis – and we are doing it,” she said ahead of her arrival.

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