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Boris Johnson pledges up to £1bn for scientists tackling climate change | Climate News



Boris Johnson is going to give scientists up to £1bn to develop technology that will tackle climate change.

The prime minister will make the announcement at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Monday.

The money will go to the clean energy fund, named in honour of British physicist and suffragette Hertha Ayrton.

It is hoped this will encourage scientists to develop and test cutting edge technology to reduce emissions in developing countries and help them meet carbon targets.

Hertha Ayrton (1854-1923) english physicist (electricity) c. 1910. (Photo by APIC/Getty Images)
Hertha Ayrton was a British physicist and suffragette

Mr Johnson will also pledge £220m from the overseas aid budget to save endangered species from extinction.

Ahead of the announcement, Mr Johnson said: “I have always been deeply optimistic about the potential of technology to make the world a better place.

“If we get this right, future generations will look back on climate change as a problem that we solved by determined global action and the prowess of technology.

“The new fund I’m launching today rightly honours Hertha Ayrton, one of Britain’s most extraordinary minds who drove relentlessly to improve our scientific understanding and left a legacy of innovation and creativity for which the world owes an immeasurable debt.”

Ms Ayrton was a scientist who helped further women’s rights and make major scientific advancements at the turn of the 20th century.

The Ayrton fund will aim to cut emissions, provide affordable access to electricity to the one billion people who are still off-grid, and design low emission vehicles.

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The international biodiversity fund will aim to halve the loss of species, including the black rhino, the African elephant and the snow leopard, which are close to extinction.

The fund will invest in projects to cut down on illegally-traded products to reduce demand for hunting, to train anti-poaching rangers, and help communities find other ways of making a living besides poaching.

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Mr Johnson added: “The global population of animals is plummeting faster than at any time in human history. There are now more peers in the House of Lords than there are Sumatran tigers left in the world.

“It is a privilege to share our planet with such majestic beasts as the African elephant, the black rhino and the beautiful pangolin.

“We cannot just sit back and watch as priceless endangered species are wiped off the face of the earth by our own carelessness and criminality.”

Carrie Symonds brought along their new rescue dog, Dilyn
Carrie Symonds, here with dog Dilyn, is known for her animal activism

Conservation is a passion of the prime minister’s girlfriend Carrie Symonds. On Sunday, she tweeted: “Happy #WorldRhinoDay. With fewer than 30,000 rhinos left in the world we need to do all we can to save this incredible species from extinction. Rhino horns only ever belong on a rhino. They don’t look good round your neck and they won’t treat your fever, arthritis or gout.”

International development secretary Alok Sharma will also announce £175m of aid for climate initiatives in the developing world.

Of that new fund, £85m will be spent protecting one billion people from natural disasters like typhoons and hurricanes with earlier warnings and handling the aftermath.

The rest will be used to cut the costs of disaster risk insurance.

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