What Is the Green Climate Fund?

Green Climate Fund

Editor's Note: This article was written by Ecumenical Advocacy Days staff. You can access a PDF of this article here

On April 22, President Biden is hosting an Earth Day climate summit to demonstrate that the United States is committed to climate action and willing to work closely with the international community towards the shared goals of the Paris Agreement. It is expected that the United States will release their new “nationally determined contribution”- or their pledge under the Paris Agreement to reduce emissions- and a plan to finance climate adaptation and mitigation efforts in developing countries. If approved, this year’s EAD asks will contribute to these commitments. 

Contributing funds toward a variety of bilateral and multilateral initiatives to build climate resilience and preserve critical ecosystems provides the United States with an opportunity to meaningfully address the global climate crisis, while considering those most impacted by climate change. As people of faith, we have an obligation to consider those countries that will be most burdened by climate change, which will only exacerbate existing inequities. Multilateral funds are a way for the United States to repair global relationships and engage in diplomatic partnerships, while working to address our disproportionate contributions to climate change. Bilateral funds are another mechanism for the United States to strengthen strategic country partnerships and demonstrate goodwill to the least developed countries. 

Although China leads the world in overall greenhouse gas emissions, the United States has the highest per capita emissions in the world. The average American is responsible for 14.95 metric tons a year, in China 6.5 metric tons per person and in India 1.57 metric tons. Meanwhile, citizens in the most climate affected countries in the world, many of whom live on less than $2.00 a day are responsible for negligible GHG emissions in comparison: Mozambique 0.3 metric tons per capita; Malawi 0.1; Zimbabwe 0.9. Developed countries have the bulk of the responsibility and capacity to deliver mitigation action and finance to support communities most exposed to current climate change impacts.” 

Contribute $2 billion toward the Green Climate Fund 

The Green Climate Fund is the world’s largest multilateral fund used to address climate change. The fund builds capacity for developing nations to limit greenhouse gas emissions through low- carbon development pathways and to adapt to the impacts of climate change. Half of the funds go toward assisting most-impacted countries in adapting to existing climate change and half go toward reducing emissions. As a major emitter and contributor to climate change, the United States has a responsibility to aid other countries in adapting to our climate crisis. Countries and populations that have not historically contributed significantly to our changing climate are being hit the first and worst. 

In 2014, the United States committed $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund. Although $1 billion was allocated via State Department Funds, the U.S. still owes $2 billion of its initial pledge. Meanwhile, many countries have raised their initial contribution levels and have made new commitments to the fund. Today, we ask that Congress fund the GCF via State and Foreign Operations, funding the remainder of what we owe from our initial commitment. 

Fund other multilateral accounts 

Adaptation Fund: $100 million 

The Adaptation Fund, like the GCF, provides assistance to developing countries. The Adaptation Fund directs funds towards small-scale, country-led projects like This would be the United States’ first time contributing to the fund. We ask that the United States commit a starting amount of $265.5 million as a good faith gesture in overall diplomacy efforts. 

Global Environment Facility: $158.92 million 

The Global Environment Facility is a fund to which the United States has consistently contributed. This fund was created in 1991 by a coalition of 27 nations (including the U.S.). The GEF serves as the financial mechanism for a number of multilateral environmental initiatives. In the last global replenishment, the United States did not follow the lead of other donor countries to increase its contributions. We now ask that the United States reestablish its position as a valued partner and consistent contributor to this fund. 

Fund other bilateral accounts 

Renewable Energy: $268.5 million 

Increasing the use of renewable energy can provide energy access to low-income countries, reduce pollution and bolster local economies. Renewable energy programs like the U.S.-Africa Clean Energy Finance Initiative (ACEF) have mobilized more than $30 for every $1 spent. Investments in energy infrastructure in lower-income countries is expected to exceed $30 trillion over the next 25 years. A small U.S. investment can help shape that enormous market for decades to come. 

Sustainable Landscapes : $202.5 million 

These programs address rural poverty and land management and incentivize efforts to curb deforestation. For every U.S. dollar spent, the program leverages $39 from other donor countries.

We ask that the U.S. fulfill its responsibility to those most impacted by climate change. In the United States these are disproportionately Black, Indigenous, and communities of color and economically marginalized communities. Globally it includes the countries and communities least responsible for climate change.

Publication Date
April 21, 2021