U.S. Among Nations Slow to Give Aid Pledged to Climate Fund

The U.S. is among at least 12 countries that have yet to cough up money promised for a United Nations fund to help developing economies cope with climate change.

Only $4 billion of the $10.2 billion pledged to the Green Climate Fund has been delivered as signed contributions, short of the $4.7 billion targeted before operations start, its Executive Director Hela Cheikhrouhou said. The U.S. has yet to fulfill its $3 billion pledge.

The contributions are “not sufficient” as of the Thursday deadline, which nations agreed to when they promised the money, Cheikhrouhou said in a call with reporters. While European Union member states committed $3.7 billion of the $4.7 billion they pledged, she said.

The aid, which would be used to fund renewable energy projects and help nations adapt to rising sea levels, is key to negotiations among more than 190 countries about reining in fossil fuel pollution. The UN hopes the discussions will produce a deal in Paris this December that restrains emissions in all nations for the first time.

“Climate finance and the Green Climate Fund are a decisive building block of the Paris universal climate agreement,” Cheikhrouhou said in a separate e-mailed statement.

President Barack Obama promised the $3 billion contribution to the fund last year. In February, he included an initial $500 million in his budget proposal for the coming fiscal year.

“We remain committed to the Green Climate Fund and will continue to work with Congress to fulfill our pledge,” Leonardo Martinez-Diaz, a deputy assistant secretary in the U.S. Treasury Department, said in an e-mailed statement.

Obama will have to win support for the pledge from the U.S. Congress, now controlled by Republicans who’ve expressed skepticism that humans are playing a role in climate change.

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