Obama approves $500m grant for Green Climate Fund

18 Jan 17

Barack Obama’s administration in the US has approved a grant worth $500m for the UN-affiliated Green Climate Fund, three days before the president leaves office.

According to a statement released on the US State Department website yesterday, the new grant has been made following an initial grant of the same sum last year.

The Green Climate Fund, which is accountable to the UN, was set up in 2010 by 194 governments to help developing countries reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impact of climate change.

The US still owes the fund $2bn of the $3bn pledged by president Obama in 2014. Republicans in Congress have been opposed to the funding and have threatened to block it.

However, around 70,000 people and 117 organisations signed a petition on the Corporate Accountability International website, as part of a campaign to urge Obama to make the outstanding payments to the fund before he leaves office.

The organisations that have signed the petition include: 350.org, the Women Donors Network and the Center for International Environmental Law.

In a statement, Friends of the Earth US confirmed its support for the move.

Karen Orenstein, the organisation’s deputy director of economic policy, said: “Friends of the Earth applauds president Obama for providing this urgently needed money to the Green Climate Fund as one of his final acts before leaving office. Republicans in Congress should never have made it so difficult for the world’s wealthiest country to assist the world’s poor as they struggle daily to feed their families and make ends meet on a warming planet.”

Orenstein also warned the incoming Trump administration and Congress not to “play politics” with the nation’s outstanding commitments.

“This must not be twisted into some kind of game to score anti-science political points; the health, well-being and even survival of children and their families are at stake here,” she said.

Orenstein added: “We do not know what the Trump team is planning for the Green Climate Fund in 2017, but if it is not prepared to play a constructive role, then it should play no role at all.”

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