International Climate Change Financing: the Green Climate Fund

Congressional Research Service

Over the past several decades, the United States has delivered financial and technical assistance for climate change activities in the developing world through a variety of bilateral and multilateral programs. The United States and other industrialized countries committed to such assistance through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC, Treaty Number: 102-38, 1992), the Copenhagen Accord (2009), and the UNFCCC Cancun Agreements (2010), wherein the higher-income countries pledged jointly up to $30 billion of “fast start” climate financing for lower-income countries for the period 2010-2012, and a goal of mobilizing jointly $100 billion annually by 2020. The Cancun Agreements also proposed that the pledged funds are to be new, additional to previous flows, adequate, predictable, and sustained, and are to come from a wide variety of sources, both public and private, bilateral and multilateral, including alternative sources of finance.

One potential mechanism for mobilizing a share of the proposed international climate financing is the UNFCCC Green Climate Fund (GCF), proposed in the Cancun Agreements and accepted by Parties during the December 2011 conference in Durban, South Africa…
The U.S. Congress—through its role in authorizations, appropriations, and oversight—would have significant input on U.S. participation in the GCF. Congress regularly determines and gives guidance to the allocation of foreign aid between bilateral and multilateral assistance as well as among the variety of multilateral mechanisms. In the past, Congress has raised concerns regarding the cost, purpose, direction, efficiency, and effectiveness of the UNFCCC and existing international institutions of climate financing… [H/T: PEN-e]

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