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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 June 2018

France steps up the fight against climate change 

Emmanuel Macron is seeking to take the lead on climate talks two years after rallying the world behind the Paris accord to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

French president Emmanuel Macron meets with US businessman and politician Michael Bloomberg, US entrepreneur Bill Gates, and British entrepreneur Richard Branson on December 12, 2017 at the Elysee palace in Paris. Christophe Archambault / AFP
French president Emmanuel Macron meets with US businessman and politician Michael Bloomberg, US entrepreneur Bill Gates, and British entrepreneur Richard Branson on December 12, 2017 at the Elysee palace in Paris. Christophe Archambault / AFP

The French president will host on Tuesday dozens of world leaders at a summit in Paris aimed at reinforcing the fight against climate change.

Emmanuel Macron is seeking to take the lead on climate talks two years after rallying the world behind the Paris accord to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

chief executives of banks and energy companies are joining more than 50 heads of state at the summit, which is aimed in part at speeding up investment in energy that doesn't damage the climate.

Mr Macron hosted leading world philanthropists on Tuesday morning to encourage more climate-related investment. While the summit is aimed at financing climate change action, it is expected to be more symbolic than policy driven.

Sean Penn, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Elon Musk are among prominent figures joining the world leaders at the summit — ranging from Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto to British prime minister Theresa May — which marks the second anniversary of the Paris accord.

Leaders from the Middle East attending the summit include Iraqi prime minister Haider Al Abadi. He is expected to present Iraq's plan of action aimed at combating global warming.

Baghdad will focus on how climate change will impact the country’s vital economy and environment sectors.

In June, US president Donald Trump announced he was pulling Washington out of the Paris accord, a move that pushed Mr Macron to issue a mock rallying cry to “make our planet great again”.

Mr Macron, who's also using the event to raise his international profile, did not invite Mr Trump.

UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa warned political action "will not be enough if we do not update and reset the global finance architecture and make all development low-emission, resilient, and sustainable".

"We see some movement … but climate consideration must now be part of all private sector decisions," Ms Espinosa said.

Some 3,100 security personnel are fanned out around Paris, including extra patrol boats along the Seine River. Mr Macron is set to accompany the visiting leaders to the summit site on a river island by boat.

Participants are expected to announce billions of dollars' worth of projects to help poor countries and industries reduce emissions.