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Leonardo DiCaprio donates $20m to battle climate change and reveals what happened when he met Trump

The actor will distribute the money through his foundation to nearly 100 organisations 

Mythili Sampathkumar
New York
Thursday 21 September 2017 20:50 BST
Actor Leonardo DiCaprio commits $20 million in grants through his foundation to climate change charities
Actor Leonardo DiCaprio commits $20 million in grants through his foundation to climate change charities (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Leonardo DiCaprio has announced he will be giving $20m to climate change charities and took a swipe at Donald Trump in the process.

The philanthropic actor will distribute the money through his foundation to nearly 100 environmental organisations.

The Titanic and Revenant star made the announcement at the Yale Climate Conference in New Haven, Connecticut, part of slew of events during New York Climate Week and the United Nations General Assembly.

He revealed he had met with the US president before Mr Trump took office in order to present a plan to combat climate change.

“We talked about how the United States has the potential to lead the world in clean energy manufacturing, and research and development," he recalled. "In fact, with the commitment of the Paris climate agreement, it could be the largest domestic opportunity in all of American history. All we need is the political will to see it happen.”

Mr Trump claimed the Paris Agreement was "unfair" to the American worker, focusing on steel, coal, and manufacturing sectors. However, the plan DiCaprio presented - as well as part of the basis for his future contributions - focused on "harnessing the economic potential of green jobs."

In June, the President announced he would withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement on climate change, a global accord signed by nearly 200 countries in an effort to reduce greenhouse gases, contain global warming, and help poorer countries adapt to an already-changed planet.

In a dig at Mr Trump, DiCaprio commented that though the President appears undeterred on the topic in light of the devastation caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, he still believes the US has "the potential to lead the world on this issue...We can only hope that the President begins to see it too, before it is too late.”

Greenpeace activists unfurl banner at Chicago's Trump Tower targeting Trump's climate change stance

DiCaprio called the Trump administration's stance on the environment "willful ignorance," even with "the independent scientific warnings, and the mounting economic price tag."

Scientists have agreed that the emissions targets outlined in the Paris accord likely will not be sufficient to limit global warming to the optimal 1.5 degrees Celsius, but that the deal was an important step towards world governments doing so.

DiCaprio has been involved in climate change activism since at least 1998 and recently directed a documentary called Before the Flood about the impacts of pollution.

The actor's foundation has already made nearly $80 million in grants towards assisting organisations working on various efforts to combat climate change around the world since 2008 as well.

“This utter lack of leadership by officials who prefer to preserve their short-term political power rather than ensuring the livable future on our planet means that we all must do more now than any other time in human history,”

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