The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is suddenly looking very lively after two announcements over the weekend. The U.S. has announced an initial pledge of $3 billion to the fund, while Japan pledged $1.5 billion. This more than doubles the current amount pledged to the key fund, which is now around $6.94 billion from thirteen countries. The new pledges also bring the fund much closer to an initial goal of $10-15 billion.
GCF was formalized in 2010 as a way to fund adaptations and mitigation efforts in poor countries, which are most at risk from climate change impacts while being the least responsible for our warming planet. It is seen by many as a key part of global negotiations on climate change, and a sticking point for a number of the world’s poorest countries.
U.S. President Barack Obama said the fund will allow developing nations to “leapfrog some of the dirty industries that powered our development [and] go straight to a clean energy economy that allows them to grow, create jobs, and at the same time reduce their carbon pollution.”
Early pledges to the fund have not just come from wealthy countries, but developing ones as well, such as Mexico which pledged $10 million.
Homes destroyed by Typhoon Bopha in the Philippines in 2012. Rising sea levels are worsening storm surges of hurricanes. In addition, some research shows that global warming may be making hurricanes more powerful. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.
“This gives us the opportunity to help vulnerable communities with an early warning system, with stronger defenses against storm surge, climate resilient infrastructure, it allows us to help farmers plant more durable crops, and it allows us to help developing countries break out of this false choice between development and pollution,” Obama said in Australia where he was attending a G20 meeting.
The pledges came just days after the U.S. and China announced a new deal to combat climate change. Under the new deal, the U.S. would reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28 percent by 2025, based on 2005 levels. Meanwhile, China says that its emissions will peak by 2030 or earlier if possible. It also promised to have 20 percent of its energy coming from zero carbon sources by 2030. While the pledges are not enough to stave off catastrophic climate change, they have been praised by many observers as a good starting point and a way to bring much-needed momentum into international climate negotiations. Nations have agreed on setting up a new international treaty at the end of 2015 in Paris.
A number of wealthier countries have yet to announce their pledges to the GCF, including Australia, Canada, Russia, and the UK. But, Tony Abbott, the Prime Minister of Australia says the country won’t pledge anything to the GCF.
Donations to the Green Climate Fund to date
- Czech Republic: $5.5 million
- Denmark: $70 million
- France: $1 billion
- Germany: $960 million
- Japan: $1.5 billion
- Luxembourg: $3.4 million
- Mexico: $10 million
- Netherlands: $125 million
- Norway: $33 million
- South Korea: $100 million
- Sweden: $40 million
- Switzerland: $100 million
- United States: $3 billion
(11/12/2014) In what will likely have major ramifications for a new climate agreement in Paris in 2015, China and the U.S. surprised everyone today by announcing a joint climate deal. At a press conference in Beijing, China President, Xi Jingping, and U.S. President, Barack Obama, outlined climate actions for both juggernauts up to 2030.
(11/03/2014) Twenty-six years after the founding of the IPCC, the Nobel Prize-winning group of scientists has released a new synthesis report that warns in its strongest tones yet that climate change must be dealt with. None of the findings are surprising—they have been released in earlier assessments throughout the year—but the terms in which they are written are the starkest yet.
(10/30/2014) Parts of the Amazon rainforest are getting considerably less rain, leading trees to absorb less carbon, finds a study published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
(10/29/2014) With the news that September was the warmest on record globally, 2014 takes one step closer to being the warmest year since record-keeping began in the late 19th Century. Last week, NOAA announced that September was 0.72 degrees Celsius (1.30 degrees Fahrenheit) above the 20th Century average, not only making it the hottest yet, but further pushing 2014 past the current ceiling.
(10/28/2014) Over the weekend, Bangladeshi artists performed plays, sang songs, and recited poetry all in a bid to protect the Sundarbans—the world’s biggest mangrove forest—from the threat of a massive coal plant. Construction is already under way on the hugely controversial Rampal coal plant, a 1,320 megawatt plant set just 14 kilometers from the edge of the Sundarbans.
(10/21/2014) What do the climate and orangutans have in common? They are both threatened by coal – the first by burning it, and the second by mining it. At the recent United Nations Climate Summit in New York, world leaders and multinational corporations pledged a variety of actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation to avert a looming disaster caused by global warming.
(10/13/2014) Scientists and politicians, everyone agrees: California is in deep trouble. As the state enters its fourth year of drought and the soil has never been drier. Some look at the sky with hope that El Niño will bring much needed rain. But most are starting to wonder if this is just the beginning. Are we entering a mega-drought that could last for more than a decade?
(10/09/2014) Scientists have long known that forest fragments are not the same ecologically as intact forest landscapes. When forests are slashed into fragments, winds dry out the edges leading to dying trees and rising temperatures. Biodiversity often drops, while local extinctions rise and big animals vanish. Now, a new study finds another worrisome impact of forest fragmentation: carbon emissions.