Joe Biden on Tuesday announced increased US contribution to climate action in developing countries at the United Nations General Assembly

The United States will double its contribution to climate finance to $ 11.4 billion per year by 2024, President Joe Biden announced at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.

During a speech at the UN in New York, Biden said his administration would work with Congress to double its April pledge of $ 5.7 billion and “Make the United States a leader in international climate finance”.

The new pledge is a significant increase in previous U.S. contributions to climate finance and in line with the demands of certain green groups, but does not on its own close the global financing gap.

“This is a welcome and much-needed demonstration of the United States’ commitment to global climate action and solidarity,” said Helen Mountford, World Resources Institute. “This should give a boost before Cop26, at a time when international solidarity is essential. “

Rich countries are believed to have missed the collective goal of providing $ 100 billion per year by 2020 to help vulnerable countries reduce their emissions and cope with climate impacts. According to OECD analysis of the most recent full dataset, climate finance stagnated in 2019, leaving a gap of $ 20 billion that will likely not have closed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Over the past decade, the United States has been a lagging behind in climate finance. Former President Barack Obama pledged $ 3 billion to the Green Climate Fund, the UN’s flagship climate finance initiative, but only disbursed $ 1 billion before stepping down.

His successor Donald Trump reneged on this commitment and in 2017-2018, the United States provided less climate finance than France, Germany, Japan or the United Kingdom, despite an economy larger than them all. reunited.

At a leaders’ summit held on Earth Day in April, Biden pledged to double the funding from Obama-era levels to $ 5.7 billion, with $ 1.5 billion earmarked for adaptation. The pledge was criticized as inadequate by activists.

“The increase in the US contribution reduces the deficit, but is not enough to meet the target agreed in Copenhagen,” Sarah Colenbrander, climate director at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), told Climate Home News.

EU commits an additional € 4 billion for climate-vulnerable people, calls on US to step up

The new US pledge does not reflect its fair share of the $ 100 billion climate goal, Colenbrander said. Based on its gross national income and cumulative emissions, the United States is expected to provide between $ 43 billion and $ 50 billion each year in climate finance, according to the ODI analysis.

“Most of the remaining deficit can be attributed to Australia, Canada, Japan, Italy and the UK. Each of these countries would need to mobilize an additional $ 2-4 billion per year to meet their fair share of the current climate finance target, ”Colenbrander said.

Several NGOs subscribe to an even higher estimate of what the United States owes the developing world, based on needs and the damage caused by its historic emissions: $ 800 billion over the decade to 2030. Karen Orenstein, Director of the climate and energy justice program at Friends of the Earth said the new commitment was “extraordinarily insufficient for the needs and at odds with what climate science and justice demand.”

“Almost all rich countries except Luxembourg, Norway and Sweden need to do more,” said John Nordbo of Care International. “We are moving forward on this issue, but the problem is that in the meantime thousands more people are displaced or die. Climate-induced famine destroys Madagascar, floods sweep through war-torn Yemen… Considering the money these countries have earned from carbon-emitting industries, none of them is advancing enough quick.

In his speech to the UN, Biden said the world is approaching a “point of no return” and is reeling from “widespread death and devastation due to the climate crisis without borders ”. He urged all nations to present their “highest possible ambitions” when leaders meet at Cop26 in Glasgow, UK, in November.

Cop26 President Alok Sharma “welcome[d]Biden’s announcement on Twitter.

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