Barack Obama transfers $500 million to Green Climate Fund in attempt to protect Paris deal

With Donald Trump expected to cease any further payments, President Barack Obama transfered $500 million to the Green Climate Fund, an international fund designed to help poor countries adopt clean energy technologies, just three days before leaving office

Barack Obama has transferred a second $500m instalment to the Green Climate Fund just three days before he leaves office
Barack Obama has transferred a second $500m instalment to the Green Climate Fund just three days before he leaves office

Three days before leaving the White House, US President Barack Obama has heeded calls to help secure the future of the historic Paris agreement by transferring a second $500 million instalment to the Green Climate Fund.

The fund was a key aspect of the Paris agreement signed in 2015, which aims to keep global warming “well below” 2C and aspires to keep warming to 1.5C.

Established in 2010, it is financed by wealthy countries and used to assist developing countries with adaptation and mitigation.

Tuesdays’s transfer brings a total of $1 billion in contributions from the US, the State Department said in a statement.

The grant is a part of the $3 billion pledge made by President Obama back in 2014, which helped bring together pieces of last year’s Paris Climate Change act.

“The Green Climate Fund is a critical tool that helps catalyse billions of dollars in public and private investment in countries dealing not only with the challenges of climate change, but the immense economic opportunities that are embedded in the transition to a lower carbon economy,” department spokesman John Kirby told reporters at a briefing Tuesday. “The United States is pleased to have played a leading role in the establishment of the GCF.”

However, the new instalment leaves $2 billion owing, with the incoming President, Donald Trump, expected to cease any further payments.

The move followed a large campaign, with more than 100 organisations and nearly 100,000 people calling for Obama to transfer the full $2.5 billion owed to the fund.

“The Obama administration is refusing to let President-elect Trump’s posse of oil barons and climate deniers dictate how the world responds to the climate crisis,” Tamar Lawrence-Samuel of Corporate Accountability International, which led the campaign, said.

“Tens of thousands of people around the world called on President Obama to step up before Trump takes the keys of our government and tries to reverse decades of climate progress,” she said. “This victory is the climate justice movement’s opening salvo to the Trump presidency. And we’re not going away.”

The money is being drawn from the state department, the same way that the first transfer was, allowing it to be done using executive powers without congressional support.