Canada will contribute $300 million to the Green Climate Fund, which helps developing countries address climate change, Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq said Thursday afternoon.
Earlier that day, the U.N. announced that the fund had fallen short, for now, of its target of collecting $10 billion. At that time, German environment minister Barbara Hendricks said Canada had made a surprise announcement that it would contribute but had not yet said how much.
About 30 countries meeting in Berlin pledged a total of $9.3 billion toward the Green Climate Fund, according to Germany's development ministry, which co-hosted the conference.
Last week, the U.S. pledged $3 billion, the biggest amount so far. Britain announced Thursday it would give 720 million pounds ($1.13 billion). Japan, Germany and France also have given $1 billion or more.
Despite the shortfall, Hendricks said she was satisfied by the result because some countries had indicated they would increase their contribution in the coming months.
"I'm confident that we will reach the $10 billion goal," she told reporters. "$9.3 billion is already pretty close."
Australia, Austria, Belgium offer nothing so far
Campaign group Oxfam described the amount collected so far as "only a bare minimum," noting that rich countries such as Australia, Austria and Belgium hadn't offered anything yet.
Germany's development minister, Gerd Mueller, said the fund would start disbursing money toward the middle or end of next year.
"If humans want to avoid the fate of dinosaurs, then we need to act now, immediately," he said.
The fund is meant to help vulnerable developing nations adjust to rising seas, warmer temperatures and more extreme weather. The money will also be used to help those countries develop clean energy sources that reduce the use of greenhouse gas-emitting coal, oil and gas.
Governments agreed at a 2009 summit in Copenhagen to seek a total of $100 billion for measures to rein in climate change and dampen its impact.
Aglukkaq noted that Canada had previously made $1.2 billion in contributions to another climate program targeted at the developing world, the Fast-Start Financing Initiative.
She says the Canadian government is committed to establishing a fair international climate change agreement at a major conference in Paris next year.
Canada wants all major greenhouse gas emitters to agree to binding obligations in that agreement.