BRISBANE, Australia - Japan confirmed Sunday plans to give up to US$1.5 billion (S$1.9 billion) to the UN-backed Green Climate Fund, joining a US pledge of US$3 billion to mitigate the impact of global warming on poor nations.
The move was flagged by Japanese media ahead of the summit of G20 leaders in Brisbane, and was rubber-stamped in a statement by the White House after US President Barack Obama met Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the summit sidelines.
"Making good on our commitment to support efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions and build climate resilience worldwide, the United States and Japan announced a total of up to US$4.5 billion in pledges to the Green Climate Fund (GCF)," it said.
"This includes up to US$3 billion from the United States and up to US$1.5 billion from Japan, subject to respective domestic procedures and based on strong contributions from other donors.
"Our pledges build on those already announced by Germany, France, and other donors, which include developed and developing countries," it added.
The GCF is a mechanism designed as a way for wealthy countries to help poorer ones to become greener and to bolster their defences against the effects of climate change.
France and Germany have pledged to contribute US$1 billion each to the UN's new climate framework.
Christiana Figueres, the head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), has called for an initial capitalisation of US$10 billion by the end of the year.
"Today's announcement builds on a history of collective leadership by the United States, Japan, and other countries to support resilient and low-carbon development around the world," the White House statement added.
The Japanese confirmation followed talks among the two leaders and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, a sceptic about man-made global warming who has been keen to keep the G20 focused on economic issues.
Despite Abbott's reluctance, climate change appears set to be mentioned in the G20 leaders' final communique on Sunday, after Obama breathed new life into global discussions on greenhouse emissions via a surprise pact with China last week.