President Barack Obama is making it clear that under his administration, the United States is in full support of the Paris agreement. Yesterday (January 17), he transferred a second $500 million into the Green Climate Fund, in which developed countries pool money to aid developing countries deal with climate change.
Developing countries that have contributed minimally, if at all, to the climate crisis will be the ones most impacted, so activists have been calling on the president to take measures to secure the fund’s solvency before President-elect Donald Trump takes his place. Trump has expressed interest in leaving the Paris agreement altogether.
The United States committed to providing $3 billion to the fund, leaving $2 billion remaining. Activists—made up of over 100 organizations—were pushing for the president to transfer the complete amount through petition, letters and tweets. In one letter, activist organization Corporate Accountability International wrote:
Climate justice is a matter of racial and economic justice, as well. Globally, just as in the U.S., indigenous people, women, LGBTQI people, children, migrants, workers, communities of color and low-income communities are the ones bearing the brunt of climate change’s effects, and have done the least to create the problem. Entire countries are drowning under rising seas; people are losing their homes and livelihoods; communities are facing severe food shortages, drought, and extreme weather. Fulfilling the U.S.’ commitment to the Green Climate Fund will help advance climate justice globally.
The $1 million Obama transferred came from a State Department fund, which allows him to skip congressional approval. This is the latest in a series of green moves the president has made in his last month in office, including protecting sacred Native American sites and banning drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic.