From: Bill Rigby, Reuters
Published January 25, 2010 06:56 AM

Health or Climate Spending, Can we have both?

Bill Gates, the world's richest man and a leading philanthropist, said on Sunday spending by rich countries aimed at combating climate change in developing nations could mean a dangerous cut in aid for health issues.

Gates, the Microsoft Corp co-founder whose $34 billion foundation is fighting malaria, AIDS, tuberculosis and other diseases in developing countries, expressed concern about the amount of spending pledged at December's Copenhagen global climate meeting.

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Participants at the meeting agreed to a target of channeling $100 billion per year to developing countries to combat climate change by 2020. Gates said that amount represents more than three quarters of foreign aid currently given by the richest countries per year.

"I am concerned that some of this money will come from reducing other categories of foreign aid, especially health," Gates wrote in a letter, released late on Sunday, describing the work of his foundation.

"If just 1 percent of the $100 billion goal came from vaccine funding, then 700,000 more children could die from preventable diseases," Gates added.

Taking the focus away from health aid could be bad for the environment in the long run, said Gates, "because improvements in health, including voluntary family planning, lead people to have smaller families, which in turn reduces the strain on the environment."

Article continues: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE60O0WL20100125

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