US delivers first payment to global climate fund

US delivers first payment to global climate fund


The United States State Department has confirmed the country has paid US$500 million into the United Nations’ Green Climate Fund, the first tranche of the US$3 billion it pledged as part of the commitments it made in the United Nations sponsored December Paris Climate Agreement.

“This grant is the first step toward meeting the president’s commitment of $3 billion to the GCF, and shows that the US stands squarely behind our international climate commitments,” a State Department spokesman said.

Africa-renewable-energyReuters Newsagency reports the US in 2014 pledged US$3 billion for the GCF, to be used by poor and climate-vulnerable countries for transformational projects to adopt cleaner energy technologies and build their resistance against the impact of climate change.

However, the ability of the US to deliver the funds had been in doubt because Republican members of Congress had threatened to block federal funds for climate aid.

Paris-Climate-Change-Conference-2015That move was part of their efforts to undermine US participation in the Paris Agreement.

They said Congress first needed to scrutinise details of the accord before it released funds.

However, politicians did not block the funds in December after they wrapped up a sprawling budget deal to keep the US government operating through next September.

UN-green-climate-fundUS officials has said the country was committed to meeting its international undertakings on climate change, even after the Supreme Court last month froze the centre piece of the country’s climate change strategy, the Clean Power Plan.

The board of the GCF is meeting this week at its headquarters in Songdo, South Korea, for the first time since the Paris Agreement was concluded in December.

The fund currently has US$10.3 billion in pledges and has a goal to spend US$2.5 billion on projects in 2016.

Hela-Cheikhrouhou-head-Green-Climate-FundHéla Cheikhrouhou, the fund’s executive director, told Reuters earlier this month she will ask the board to approve an increase of between 80 and 120 new staff to meet the spending target.

“We need to have the tools and we need to have the people in place before we scale up further,” she told Reuters.