October 5, 2023

Today is the pledging conference for the Green Climate Fund’s second replenishment period. A few countries came through with new pledges, many countries confirmed previously announced pledges, and others indicated they would make a future pledge without any details. The United States, notably, made no pledge.

Niranjali Amerasinghe, ActionAid USA’s Executive Director, said:

“While GCF pledges from developed countries as a whole have fallen far short of what is needed, the United States is a particularly egregious offender. As the world’s largest historical emitter and one of the world’s wealthiest countries, the United States should be making larger contributions to the GCF than any other single country in the world. 

The Biden administration wants to be seen as climate leaders, and the U.S. even serves as co-chair on the GCF Board. The U.S. not making a pledge today – after not making a pledge to the first replenishment, and not having fulfilled its original pledge from 2014 – is an embarrassment. We expect the U.S. to come through with a pledge by COP28. A failure to do so would be more than an embarrassment, it would be a betrayal of the promise of the Paris Agreement and a clear sign that the U.S. is turning its back on the world’s most vulnerable communities.”

The Green Climate Fund is the world’s largest multilateral climate finance institution, and the largest single fund supporting adaptation efforts in developing countries. It is governed equitably, with recipient developing countries having equal representation on its governing Board compared to wealthy developed countries, and emphasizes that recipient countries should be able to control how funds are used, in contrast to bilateral and other funding sources that are far more donor-driven.

In 2014, during the GCF’s initial resource mobilization, the Obama administration pledged $3 billion to the GCF. It was only able to actually contribute $1 billion of that pledge; the Biden administration later sent an additional $1 billion. In the meantime, the U.S. completely skipped the GCF’s first replenishment in 2019, while other countries made pledges building on, in some cases doubling, their original pledge. As a result, the U.S. is lagging far behind other contributors – and those contributions are already far smaller than they need to be, with climate finance flows from developed countries falling far short of the need in developing countries.

Unfortunately, the Biden administration has recently been providing contributions to flawed, donor-driven institutions like the World Bank’s Climate Investment Funds or pseudo-bilateral, non-transparent, unaccountable initiatives like the Just Energy Transition Partnerships. Instead, the U.S. should focus on meeting its obligation to fill the Green Climate Fund, which has a proven track record and, though it has its flaws, is far more effective and equitable than any of the alternatives.