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De Niro brings star quality to fight against climate change

American actor Robert De Niro, speaks during the World Government Summit in Dubai, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018. (AP/Kamran Jebreili)
DUBAI: The government of the UAE has teamed up with Hollywood star Robert De Niro to raise awareness about the dangers of global climate change.

The Climate Project is a two-year initiative to share knowledge on coping with climate change, and to promote what was called “finance-able” climate resilience projects in developing countries.

De Niro, a long-standing campaigner against the effects of climate change in the Caribbean and especially the hurricane-ravaged island of Barbuda, said the ability to attract investment depended on the quality of projects a country proposed.

“If a country is strong, people will want to invest. In Barbuda, we’re there to help, to bring back what they had before, and investment is part of that, it’s really that simple. Community agriculture and sustainable development are key,” he said.

In a veiled criticism of the climate change-denying policies of the Trump administration, he added: “The situation in my country is not helpful, but we will fix that. When a country’s leaders fail to take a position, ordinary people have to write to their representatives and be on top of them to bring about change.”

The Climate Project will be run by the UAE ministries of foreign affairs and international co-operation, and climate change and environment. Thani Al-Zeyoudi, the climate change minister, said it would deliver climate initiatives and products to 10 million people by 2020.

“Through an innovative approach which brings together communications and media experts with scientists, thought leaders and government representatives, the project will produce products aimed at both the general public and decision makers. It is aimed at developing climate resilience standards,” he said.

The project will focus on three main areas: Gender and youth, because women and children often bear the brunt of climate change challenges; extreme weather events such as hurricanes and earthquakes; and sustainable solutions that offer long-term remedies to, and defenses against, climate issues.

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