The United States will pledge to contribute $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund, sources revealed on Saturday. The fund helps poor countries with projects to lower emissions and transition to clean energy.
The news came as Vice President Kamala Harris arrived in Dubai for the UN’s COP28 climate summit. Harris is due to announce the pledge in an address later on Saturday.
The money will be given in addition to $2 billion previously delivered by the United States, but is subject to “the availability of funds”.
The Green Climate Fund has had pledges for more than $20 billion and is the largest international fund dedicated to supporting climate action in developing countries.
The fund’s facilitators said in October that the current second round of replenishments had brought in about $9.3 billion in pledges to fund projects in climate-vulnerable counties between 2024 and 2027.
Even so, pledges so far represent a fraction of roughly $250 billion that developing countries would need every year by 2030 just to adapt to a warmer world. In addition to supporting climate adaptation, the fund also finances projects to help countries shift to clean energy.
A US climate official said the vice president would tell the summit that the world needs to “make sure that everybody is at the table, and everybody is stepping up. Everybody has to step up.”
Harris, who is representing the United States at COP28 in place of President Joe Biden, is part of a US delegation that also includes climate envoy John Kerry and dozens of senior officials.
“It was important for both the President and Vice President to ensure that a leader from the United States was at COP,” an official said, adding that Harris wanted to “make sure we are telling the world the story of progress that we have made in the US.”
Guterres: We need a future without fossil fuels
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, meanwhile, urged world leaders at the summit to plan for a future without fossil fuels. He said there was no other way to stop global warming.
“We cannot save a burning planet with a fire hose of fossil fuels. The 1.5-degree limit is only possible if we ultimately stop burning fossil fuels – not reduce. Not abate,” he said in remarks referring to nascent technologies such as carbon-capture, which the oil sector is pursuing, but remains unproven.
The climate summit started on a positive note, with agreement on a loss and damage fund to help poor nations deal with the impacts of climate change, which stems largely from accumulated emissions from fossil-fuel use by wealthy nations.
World Bank to oversee climate damage fund
Around $700 million was dedicated to the climate damage fund, which will be overseen by the World Bank.
But World Bank President Ajay Banga said on Friday the bank was likely to play a limited role – managing its day-to-day operations. Donor countries and recipients were likely to control how the money is spent.
“The reality is the Bank is currently not planning to play the role of allocating the money,” he was quoted as saying at the summit. “That will be done by a governing board that needs to be created, that should have representation from the donor countries as well as the recipient countries,” Banga said, according to AFP.
“Our job is like a trustee: We run it, we operate it, we hope to make sure the money goes the right places – because we know how to do that,” he said.
- Reuters with additional inputs and editing by Jim Pollard
NOTE: The headline on this report was amended on December 2, 2023.