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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Japan Pledges Grants Worth $100M for Climate Initiative

KYOTO, Japan -- Japan pledged $100 million in grants to the Asian Development Bank on Sunday to combat global climate change and promote greener investment in the region, and called for a beefed-up international agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The money is part of a new initiative by Tokyo to support sustainable development amid increasing concern that Asia's breakneck economic growth is leaving the environment in tatters.

It comes just days after a breakthrough agreement in Thailand set the world's first roadmap for fighting global warming.

As part of Japan's push, it will also provide up to $2 billion in loans to the bank over the next five years to promote investment in the region.

"Climate change is an imminent challenge," Japanese Finance Minister Koji Omi said in announcing the plan at the bank's annual meeting in Kyoto. "Each country should recognize the issue as its own challenge."

Tackling environmental problems is emerging as a top priority at the bank, which was founded four decades ago to fight poverty through economic growth.

The Asian Development Bank is currently working to counter a mentality that poor nations must sacrifice the environment to the march of progress, amid criticism that the bank funds such rampant development.

Over the last three decades, Asia's energy consumption has grown by 230 percent, and it is expected to double again by 2030, bank president Haruhiko Kuroda said Sunday.

The region already accounts for one-quarter of the world's greenhouse gas emissions -- a leading cause of global warming.

Japan, which has the biggest voting power in the bank along with the United States, will channel up to $100 million into two new funds: the Asian Clean Energy Fund and the Investment Climate Facilitation Fund.