U.S. Pays $1 Billion into Green Climate Fund, Top Polluters Pay Nothing-Truth! & Misleading!
Summary of eRumor:
The United States has paid $1 billion into the United Nation's Green Climate Fund while the world's top polluters — China, India and Russia — have paid nothing.
Claims are true that the United States' paid $1 billion into the Green Climate Fund (GCF) while the world's top polluters — namely China, India and Russia — paid nothing. These claims are also misleading, however, because they don't account for billions of dollars in financial commitments those countries have made to the same cause outside of the GCF.
Questions about the United States' financial commitments to the GCF were raised by President Donald Trump in his Rose Garden announcement
that the U.S. would not honor its commitment to the Paris Agreement in June 2017:
"Beyond the severe energy restrictions inflicted by the Paris accord, it includes yet another scheme to redistribute wealth out of the United States through the so-called 'green climate fund' — nice name — which calls for developed countries to send $100 billion to developing countries."
The GCF doesn't call for sending $100 billion to developing countries, as the president claimed.
The GCF does, however, play a role in supporting the overall goal of committing $100 billion in financing annually to help the poorest countries in the world deploy green technology. That distinction is what makes this rumor misleading (more on that later).
The president's comments led to follow-up reports about the Green Climate Fund that made it appear the world's biggest polluters weren't making the same financial commitments as the United States because they didn't contribute to the GCF. Fox News
, for example, reported:
The United States contributed $1 billion to the global Green Climate Fund, but the world's top polluters contributed nothing, David Asman reported. Asman said on "Forbes on Fox" that China, Russia and India contributed no money to the Green Climate Fund, yet that international community pressured the U.S. to join the Paris Climate Accord. Steve Forbes said that the billion-dollar payment is another reason why President Trump was smart to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris agreement.
Fox News was correct in reporting that the U.S. had contributed $1 billion to the GCF while top polluters had contributed nothing. President Obama committed a total of $3 billion to the fund through 2020 (President Trump indicated on the campaign trail and in the Rose Garden press conference that he would not honor that commitment, either). The U.S. was among 43 countries that had made financial contributions
to the GCF with the goal of generating a total of $10 billion by 2020 to support green technology and infrastructure in developing countries. China, India and Russia were not among thee 43 countries and were not listed as GCF contributors.
But this is where things get misleading. President Trump's Rose Garden comments combined two different things: the GCF's $10 billion goal and a goal set at the 2009 Climate Conference in Copenhagen
to generate a combined $100 billion per year in financing for green technology and infrastructure in poor countries. While the GCF's $10 billion goal counts toward the overall $100 billion financing goal — the goal of the GCF was not to raise $100 billion alone. This is an important distinction to make because countries like China, India and Russia can (and have) made significant contributions to the $100 billion goal without contributing a penny to the GCF.
China, for example, announced a plan in 2015 to contribute $3.1 billion to help poorer countries finance green technology transitional programs, the Wall Street Journal reports
WASHINGTON—The U.S. and China on Friday announced significant steps in their efforts to combat climate change, including a pledge by China to launch a program by 2017 to cap some emissions and put a price on carbon and to contribute $3.1 billion to help poorer countries finance their own transition programs.
In the end, the claim that the U.S. invested $1 billion to the Green Climate Fund while the nation's top polluters invested nothing is technically true — but only because of a technicality. China and India have pledged billions to support green technology deployment around the word. Those contributions would be reflected in the overall $100 billion financing goal for green technology — but not in the GCF because of a complicated funding structure. Given that, we're calling these claims "misleading."