BRISBANE, Australia – President Barack Obama announced a $3 billion dollar pledge to the U.N.’s Green Climate Fund on Nov. 14, 2014, just three days following his collaborative announcement with Chinese President Xi Jinping on trade and emissions. The U.S. and China remain the two largest emitters of carbon dioxide.
President Obama made the announcement at a G-20 summit meeting of industrial powers last week in Brisbane, Australia, that the U.S. and China will jointly commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade. President Obama declared that the U.S. would cut its emissions by 26 to 28 percent from the levels in 2005 by the year 2025. Chinese President Xi Jinping proclaimed that his country would make substantial cuts to carbon emissions by the U.N. climate summit in 2015 which is to be held in Paris.
The Green Climate Fund is intended to assist developing nations in mitigating their carbon emissions and preparing for the effects of climate change, such as rising sea levels. It has been the most severely underfunded objectives thus far. The $3 billion pledge, used as funding spread out over a number of years, is to help the world’s poorest countries tackle the effects of climate change and greater coordination on economic and security matters.
“We’re doing this because it is in our national interest to build resilience in developing countries to climate change,” said a senior administration official, speaking on the behalf of the president’s announcement. Many environmental groups presented excessive praise for the administrations move.
Continued growth of greenhouse gas emissions and global warming causes the sea level to rise due to climate change, which poses as a serious global threat. Sea level rise due to global warming is set to cause 200 million climate refugees by the year 2050. This climate change impact on developing countries, such as Vietnam and Egypt, are potentially catastrophic. Other developing countries among the regions of East Asia and North Africa show the greatest relative affects. Tides are becoming higher, and storm surges are having a greater impact than they did in the past. This change in climate is also impacting the availability of drinking water, as seawater interlopes further inland contaminating freshwater resources.
President Obama shoots to be the central broker of the international climate change settlement that would pledge all the world’s major economies to cutting their emissions from the burning of coal and oil, and significantly reduce the earth from planet-warming carbon pollution.
“Day in, day out, steadily, deliberately, we will continue to deepen our engagement using every element of our power — diplomacy, military, economic, development and the power of our values,” said President Obama in Brisbane, Australia during the Group of 20 nations summit. President Obama’s bold statement is said to be making combatting climate change his central priority of his second term. His attempts to reduce emissions in the U.S. through executive authority under the Clean Air act will place a large part in climate negotiations in Paris next year.
This pledge would make the U.S. the largest contributor to the newly established fund. President Obama’s pledge on spending American tax dollars on foreign aid related to climate change is certain to face criticism from Republicans, who have already criticized his climate change policies as “job-killing” regulations. This is one of the essential efforts to secure a settlement with the United Nations to combat global warming. With pledges already being set from Germany and France, and one coming from Japan, the Green Climate Fund is close to securing $10 billion pledges towards its goal.
– Sandy Phan
Sources: GC Fund, Climate of Concern, UNFCCC