Canada to give aid to developing nations to fight climate change

British Prime Minister David Cameron (right) meets with his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau inside 10 Downing Street in London, Britain, on Nov 25, 2015.
British Prime Minister David Cameron (right) meets with his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau inside 10 Downing Street in London, Britain, on Nov 25, 2015. PHOTO: EPA

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada will provide aid to developing countries to combat climate change, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Friday (Nov 27) ahead of talks on global warming, which he has promised will show the country is serious about tackling the issue.

Canada will give C$2.65 billion (S$2.8 billion) over the next five years, the newly elected Trudeau announced during a trip to Malta, where he was meeting the heads of Commonwealth countries.

The funding will help support the transition to low-carbon economies and will target the poorest and most vulnerable countries. The contribution is part of an agreement Canada made in 2009 to work with developed countries to provide $100 billion a year by 2020 from various sources.

Taking more aggressive action on climate change was a major part of Trudeau's campaign ahead of the October election that ousted the former Conservative government, which was criticised for not doing enough to combat global warming.

"Canada is back and ready to play its part in combating climate change, and this includes helping the poorest and most vulnerable countries in the world adapt," Trudeau said in a statement.

Trudeau will attend a United Nations environmental summit in Paris next week. While he will not provide a new greenhouse emissions target, he has committed to coming up with a goal with Canada's provinces within 90 days of returning from the talks.

The question of aid for developing countries is separate from that of what the world will do to fight global warming, and opposition New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair criticised Trudeau on Friday for not toughening the pledge made under former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

"Canadians who voted for change are disappointed to learn that Prime Minister Trudeau will go to Paris with the same targets as former Prime Minister Harper," Mulcair told a news conference.