We’ve thought for a while that the US had more leadership to contribute to the world climate process, so today’s news (still on the gossip vine at present) that President Obama has a $3 billion pledge in his pocket for the Global Climate Fund is not a total surprise. Growing out of a 2010 agreement made by the international community in Copenhagen, this mechanism allows developed nations and the private sector to capitalize climate change mitigation and adaptation in the world’s developing countries.
The Fund is crucial in terms of fairness because it guarantees that developing nations will not be penalized for sacrificing their individual progress to urgent world needs. The US contribution will bring the fund to $6 billion of the $10 billion proposed for the end of 2014. Earlier pledges have been made by Germany ($1 billion), France ($1 billion), and Sweden ($500 million).
The US pledge could not come at a more opportune time. It immediately precedes the meeting of the prestigious G20 Summit—a periodic huddle of the world’s largest economies—that is taking place in Brisbane this weekend. It will very likely mobilize the slower nations of the world to complete and perhaps exceed the fund’s target for this year.
The move is nothing new to the US. It follows in the tradition of President George W. Bush’s $2 billion commitment to the Climate Investment Funds and his subsequent investment of $430 million in the important Global Environment Facility.
Last week, Robert Menendez (NJ), Senators Barbara Boxer (CA), Ron Wyden (OR), and Patty Murray (WA) pointed out in a letter to President Obama that “a substantial pledge to the GCF is [vital]… and may well be a necessary prerequisite for any future international agreement on climate change.”
Look for this pledge to signal hope for the future in terms of climate change and adaptation. It has the potential to galvanize the international picture, lead up to a much stronger UN summit in Lima in several weeks (which I will be reporting from live), and help us find a way out of the accelerating tangles of climate change. It may be the very best chance we all have left.
Image Credit: whitehouse.gov
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