(Trends Wide) — President Joe Biden announced Tuesday that he will work with Congress to once again double down on America’s financial commitment to help developing nations cope with the climate crisis.
Biden pledged in April that the United States would increase its contribution to global climate finance to $ 5.7 billion a year, putting his new commitment at $ 11.4 billion a year, a senior administration official told Trends Wide. of Biden.
“In April I announced that the United States would double its international public funding to help developing countries cope with the climate crisis, and today I am proud to announce that we will work with Congress to double that figure again, including for adaptation efforts. “, announced Biden before the General Assembly of the UN.
Congress will ultimately be responsible for allocating climate funds, which means the final figure could change. Congressional Democrats are currently drafting Biden’s $ 3.5 trillion budget bill, which largely contains the budgets for Biden’s clean energy and climate programs.
Biden said his new promise “will make America the leader in public funding” for climate-related policies.
“With our added support, along with increased private and other donor capital, we will be able to reach the goal of mobilizing $ 100 billion to support climate action in developing countries,” said Biden.
The senior administration official told Trends Wide that Biden “has been clear that the United States will deliver on our climate finance promises, including the Green Climate Fund (GCF),” which is the primary funding mechanism for the UN climate.
The official said Biden’s $ 3.5 trillion budget proposal “provides for significant new contributions to the GCF,” and that the White House will continue to work “with the Treasury, Congress and other countries on future contributions, including in the context of a second contribution to the fund “.
A history of unfulfilled commitments
More than a decade ago, leaders of developed countries agreed to contribute US $ 100 billion a year to support developing countries facing the most direct impacts of the climate, a goal that was not met. In 2019, developed countries contributed $ 79.6 billion to developing countries, about $ 20 billion less than the goal of $ 100 billion annually, according to a recent report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The United States was also criticized for not transferring any funds during the Trump administration, who withdrew the United States from its global climate finance commitments when it pulled out of the Paris climate agreement. Under the Obama administration, the US paid $ 1 billion out of a $ 3 billion commitment it originally made in 2014.
Even with Biden’s new commitment, US allies are contributing more to the effort. For example, the European Union spends around € 25 billion a year (the equivalent of US $ 29.3 billion).
Biden’s broader climate agenda, which includes billions of dollars to boost renewables and a new clean electricity program to decarbonize America’s energy sector, is making its way through Congress.
“My administration is working closely with our Congress to make critical investments in green infrastructure and electric vehicles,” Biden said in his speech Tuesday. “It will help us ensure our progress at home towards our climate goals.”
Can the US meet its emission reduction targets?
Experts told Trends Wide that it will be incredibly difficult for the United States to meet its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50-52% below 2005 levels by 2030, unless Biden and Congress can work together. to pass the budget bill.
Progressive and moderate Democrats are stuck on the size of the package, and conservative Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia has raised concerns about the bill’s climate provisions.
The domestic politics surrounding Biden’s budget bill will have huge repercussions on America’s climate policy abroad.
The day before Biden’s speech, US special envoy for climate John Kerry told Sky News that the US will “fulfill” its commitment to climate finance ahead of the international climate summit. to be held in November in Glasgow, also known as COP26.
“I think we’re going to get it for the COP, and the United States will do its part,” Kerry said. “It is not a matter of waiting, I tell you to be attentive to the president’s speech, and we will see where we are.”