Climate change is a globally recognized problem that politicians widely tout as the issue of our time, yet developed nations appear unwilling to address the issue monetarily.
Sure, they agreed to contribute to the $100 billion Green Climate Fund (GCF) which was originally established in U.N. meetings circa December 2010.
However, numerous U.N. meetings since then, most notably the Paris Climate Change Conference in November and December of 2015, have done little to spark funding by developed nations. More importantly, there are few indications that the non-binding pledge of funds will ever come to fruition. Examining the specifics of the deal, the loose parameters for how the funds will be used and the potential for an untenable precedent make the lack of financial commitment understandable.
Recent reports show that the fund is woefully behind in its goal to rake in $100 billion annually for developing countries to establish renewable power structures, other environmentally-conscious systems, and other undetermined projects.
One estimate puts the shortage of funding at $40 billion, but many, including developing countries, have stated that number is much higher. Even the United States, which spearheaded these negotiations under the Obama administration, has only given $1 billion of the $3 billion pledged by Obama.
With such a lofty goal and a lack of punitive measures for unpaid pledges, this is the reality we should have expected.
The most liberal leaders- Obama and Canada’s Justin Trudeau are prime examples- seem to wholeheartedly believe that climate change is the imminent, mother-of-all-threats that they purport it to be. They are more than willing to, as Obama did, unilaterally pledge taxpayer dollars toward a cause that is still being debated. When it comes to the GCF, neither America nor Canada has led the charge in urging action from other developed nations.
It is China, of all countries, which is vociferously calling for other countries to do more to preserve the environment.
Don’t laugh. It’s not a joke.
But we would have guessed this paragraph was pulled from the satirical musings of The Onion:
“Climate ministers from Europe, India, Brazil and South Africa have gone to Beijing in recent weeks, hoping to sustain momentum from the Paris talks despite the Trump administration’s dismantling of US regulations meant to limit American emissions.”
When one thinks of bastions of environmentalism the first country which comes to mind is Brazil, where only 40 percent of sewage is treated and 80 to 100 tons of trash is expelled into picturesque Guanabara Bay daily.
Or India, which makes Brazil look like Portland in terms of environmental policy.
India’s own Pollution Control Board estimated that over 2 million liters of domestic sewage is deposited into the Ganges river daily.
Don’t be fooled by the rhetoric. China is merely bringing attention to the fact that they are taking steps in hopes that the world will believe they aren’t the polluting China of old. They did not turn into a progressive, environment-first regime overnight. China is aware of its status as global Polluter-in-Chief, and if it must pledge a few million dollars and rattle a few cages to help improve that image, it is a small price to pay.
The irony is that, as of now, China has paid a grand total of zero dollars to the GCF. Instead, they have set up their own climate fund to which they have pledged $3.1 billion dollars. They know full-well that the other developed nations are unlikely to follow through on their pledges, and Chinese money given to the GCF would be as good as gone.
It is the ultimate posturing: ‘look, we allocated money into our own fund that we control, but other nations should follow through on their pledges to the GCF’. China’s justification for not depositing the money into the GCF: the other countries’ lack of follow-through. Xi Jinping is betting that other nations will not budge, so he can claim the moral high ground while not actually following through on China’s pledges.
It’s such a transparent attempt at image-boosting that you might swear Jinping was taking a page from Kim Jong-Un’s book of empty showmanship.
The other three nations calling for action are recipients of proposed funding. Obviously they would like to see their free money signed over.
India, South Africa, and Brazil’s contribution to the fund, combined?
It’s completely understandable that these nations would be actively attempting to keep the GCF alive, they stand only to gain more aid from the global community.
Here is a list of what nations have pledged, versus the amount signed over to the fund.
However, developed nations who are not as concerned with disingenuously rectifying their image have proven less eager to follow through on pledges, as the deficit in funding clearly shows.
Despite Obama pushing through the first round of American funding to the tune of $1 billion, Donald Trump has made clear both in words and action that he does not plan on contributing the rest of the pledged $3 billion.
While Trump is willing to do the minimal to please his more progressive daughter as well as advisor-in-law Jared Kushner, spending of this kind would label him a turncoat among his constituents.
Global “aid” money for climate change purposes fundamentally opposes the America-first doctrine which got him elected.
Some developed countries have re-labeled existing aid money as GCF contributions, but the developing nations were promised more money, not the same money under a different premise.
There are many reasons why issuing this new money would set a dangerous precedent.
For one, what indication is there that nations such as India and Brazil, which have failed to seriously address their own rampant environmental problems, would use climate change aid money to finally stop polluting and mass deforestation?
The premise of the GCF goes against logic. It also goes against what we know about the leadership in most of these countries.
It would be understandable for these developing nations to use the money for more pressing issues. Most rational people see poverty and other widespread, life-threatening issues as more worthy of funding, and they are right.
But this bill was not proposed to combat these other issues, so money should not be given to quell these other problems. It’s that simple.
Already, Bolivia is asking for $250 million from the fund to ease the effects of their worst drought in 25 years.
The tangential science that climate change is based upon would somehow find a causal link between human activity and environmental problems that have been occurring since before humans were recording climate data. That’s what climate change pushers do.
And this is a slippery slope. What qualifies as a climate change-induced symptom worthy of funding from the GCF?
Your guess is as good as mine, but it is prescient to see that this fund is little more than an all-encompassing financial albatross that purports to cure the ills which plague the developing world.
It won’t. Nothing is a cure-all for the problems of humanity. Ultimately, a nation is the only entity that can pull itself up.
To be clear, natural disasters and other circumstances warrant aid. Just call it what it is, politicians will feel much more pressure to contribute taxpayer money when the cause is legitimate. Regardless of your stance on climate change, the lack of parameters regarding what constitutes climate change funding is a non-starter.
Gone are the days when America blindly throws money at problems, justifying the wasteful spending of citizens’ dollars with emotional politics.
The demise of the GCF is a good start.