President Donald Trump has pulled the United States out of the Paris Agreement, which solidified a global effort to tackle climate change. Part of the reason, he asserted during a press conference, was because of the Green Climate Fund that Trump says costs the U.S. “billions of billions of billions” of dollars.
The Green Climate Fund is a program birthed in 2010 under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to address the disproportionate burden climate change is placing on the developing world. Developed countries make a pledged contribution to the fund, which will go towards preparing developing nations for climate change and helping them keep their greenhouse gas emissions low. However, none of this is enforceable, and these pledges are voluntary.
Nations throughout Latin America, Africa and Asia contributed the least to climate change, yet they will see its worst impacts—and sooner—including receding coastlines, disastrous storms, widespread disease, exacerbated drought and famine, as well as the potential for civil war as they struggle to properly distribute resources. Some island nations are already having their land go underwater as rising temperatures drive the Arctic to melt at an increasing rate.
The developing world—the U.S., China and parts of Europe—contributed the most to climate change through carbon emissions. This is, in part, why the U.N. is looking to them to fill the fund.
The United States has pledged $3 billion, and former President Barack Obama contributed the first $1 billion before leaving office, meaning $2 billion remains—less than the United States has contributed in environmental foreign assistance in the last two years.
The U.S. is set to contribute more than any other country, but, as The New York Times broke down, on a per-capita basis, the U.S. ranks No. 11. Sweden, France and Japan are three of the countries paying more per person.