Extreme poverty cannot be tackled if governments fail to act on climate change, World Bank president Jim Yong Kim told euronews in an interview on Monday.
He was speaking to euronews correspondent Gregoire Lory as UN-backed climate talks opened in Paris where world leaders want to hammer out a deal to cut global carbon emissions and limit global warming to 2C.
“Fighting climate change is intimately connected to our two goals, and one is the end of extreme poverty, and the other is to reduce inequality by focusing on the income of the bottom 40 percent in developing countries,” said Kim. “There is no way to achieve those goals without tackling climate change.”
The South Korean-born physician pointed to recent World Bank research that showed an additional 100 million people would be “plunged into poverty by 2030” if no action is taken on global warming.
“Our goal is to end extreme poverty by 2030. So in other words, if we don’t take an aggressive approach to climate change, there is no way for us to reach our goal of ending extreme poverty,” said Kim, who has led the World Bank since 2012.
For 2015, the bank puts the number of poor at 702 million people. It said on October 4 that the new international poverty line is $1.90 per day.
Organisers say 151 heads of state or government are at the talks in Paris, while as many as 190 negotiating teams will be present at the meeting, which is also known as COP21.
Earlier on Monday, the United States, Canada and nine European countries unveiled a pledge of some 250 million US dollars (236 million euros) to help the most vulnerable countries cope with the impacts of climate change.
Britain, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden and Switzerland also contributed.
Developing countries say they need access to more financing so they can adapt agricultural policies and prepare themselves for a hotter climate.
There have been fears amongst some that they will be sidelined at the meeting if leaders have to push for a compromise deal.