Spotlight Activity: The United States Proposed Withdrawal from the Paris Agreement Has Been Accompanied by Its Refusal to Honor a 2 Billion Commitment to the Green Climate Fund
The United States is a major player in climate finance, with former President Obama having pledged in 2014 to donate $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund. His administration delivered $1 billion of this funding. When President Trump announced the U.S.’ intent to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, this amount was dropped to $0. However, Congress retained $31 million of funding for the Montreal Protocol Multilateral Fund, which supports reductions to the emissions of ozone depleting substances – some of which are also greenhouse gases.
The existing funding has been split between mitigation, adaptation, and REDD+ programs around the world. A large portion of the funding funds such programs as renewable energy infrastructure development in Sub-Saharan Africa. However, given the current administration’s hostility toward climate change mitigation and adaptation programs, it is likely that future programs will be considerably scaled back.
Status: Falling Behind
As one of the greatest historic contributors to climate change, the United States has a heightened obligation to both fund mitigation efforts wherever possible and offer assistance to those countries hardest hit by the adverse effects of climate change. The Trump administration’s open hostility toward the Green Climate Fund and failure to fulfill the U.S.’ financial commitments shows a complete disregard for the plights of countries most harmed by climate change and for the value of international agreements. The U.S. should renew its commitments to climate finance and contribute the remainder of its committed funding.
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