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Britain Pledges Climate Aid for Developing Countries

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Britain will provide 1.5 billion pounds (US$2.4 billion) toward a three-year fund to help the poorest countries adapt to the effects of climate change, the prime minister's office announced on Friday.

The money will form part of a "fast start" fund worth 6.5 billion pounds (US$10.4 billion) agreed by European Union (EU)leaders at a European Council meeting in Brussels on Friday.

At a press conference following the summit, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown also confirmed that the EU will offer to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2020 if other countries are willing to commit to ambitious reductions at the Copenhagen climate conference.

Brown said: "Britain's contribution is one that we are proud we are making, and that is US$800 million a year. That makes it possible for the poorest countries to come to the table knowing that they can mitigate carbon emissions and adapt to climate change."

The prime minister said he and other EU leaders would do "everything in our power" to secure an ambitious deal at the UN summit in Copenhagen, which concludes next week.

He said: "I believe there is goodwill now, that there is a determination that things move forward. Obviously we are hoping that other countries respond to the generous offers that Europe has made but we look forward to a successful outcome."

Earlier, Brown released a joint statement with French President Nicolas Sarkozy committing Britain and France to work together for an ambitious deal in Copenhagen which would keep global warming to within two degrees Celsius.

Brown said: "This is the time for more than words. It is the time for action, backed up by strong commitments. It is strong commitments that President Sarkozy and I are making here."

(Xinhua News Agency December 12, 2009)

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