Harlem’s Espailat Leads Push To Re-Establish Pledge To International Green Climate Fund

Today, Representative Adriano Espaillat led 40 lawmakers in a letter urging the Biden administration to pledge at least $6 billion to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), including $4 billion in the Fiscal Year 2022 Presidential Budget Request.


Here’s the letter.

“After four years of climate denial and decades of inaction, it is long overdue we step up to the plate to address climate change – both by reducing our own emissions and providing support to developing countries that are disproportionately impacted by its effects,” said Rep. Espaillat. “Developing nations are the least responsible for global carbon emissions, yet bear the greatest burden of climate change. We have an obligation to pursue environmental justice and assist those who are on the front lines of the climate crisis to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and it is critical we recommit the United States to the Green Climate Fund.”


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“For too long our nation has not met its full potential to mitigate climate change and limit carbon emissions. The resulting inaction has put our nation and the world on the precipice of catastrophe,” lawmakers stated in the letter. “As the world’s largest historical greenhouse gas emitter and one of the wealthiest countries in the world, it is incumbent upon the United States to contribute its fair share to global mitigation and adaptation efforts by providing financing to developing countries for just and equitable climate action.

“[t]his funding is essential to our shared goals of mitigating and adapting to climate change. Significantly increased international climate finance from the United States alongside other wealthy countries is a prerequisite for meeting the goal of keeping global temperature rise under 1.5, or even 2, degrees Celsius, and ensuring that communities around the world are able to survive the impacts of the crisis that are already being felt,” the lawmakers concluded.

The letter is signed by 40 members of Congress: Nanette Diaz Barragán, Donald S. Beyer Jr., Jamaal Bowman, Ed.D., Julia Brownley, Cori Bush, Ed Case, Sean Casten, Kathy Castor, Yvette D. Clarke, Emanuel Cleaver, II, Steve Cohen, Gerald E. Connolly, Mark DeSaulnier, Veronica Escobar, Jesús G. “Chuy” García, Raúl M. Grijalva, Alcee L. Hastings, Jahana Hayes, Jared Huffman, Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr., Mondaire Jones, William R. Keating, Ro Khanna, Andy Levin, Alan S. Lowenthal, Gwen S. Moore, Jerrold Nadler, Grace F. Napolitano, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Ilhan Omar, Dean Phillips, Mark Pocan, Mike Quigley, Jamie Raskin, Jan Schakowsky, Dina Titus, Ritchie Torres, Rashida Tlaib, Nydia M. Velázquez, and Susan Wild.

A full copy of the letter to President Biden, Deputy Director Young, Secretary Blinken, Secretary Yellen, and Special Presidential Envoy for Climate Kerry is available here and below:

Dear President Biden, Deputy Director Young, Secretary Blinken, Secretary Yellen, and Special Presidential Envoy for Climate Kerry:

We write to you with a continuing and pressing sense of urgency regarding the climate crisis. For too long our nation has not met its full potential to mitigate climate change and limit carbon emissions.

The resulting inaction has put our nation and the world on the precipice of catastrophe. We do not use these words lightly, for current and impending climate change is truly an existential crisis.

With this in mind, we also write to you with a renewed sense of hope, as your administration has the opportunity to finally bring our nation on course to swiftly and seriously address one of the greatest challenges in generations.

With this in mind, we request that you recommit the United States to contributing to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and, in doing so, rehabilitate our nation’s role as an international leader.

As you know, the Green Climate Fund is the world’s largest dedicated fund helping developing countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and enhance their ability to respond to climate change – aiming for a 50:50 balance between mitigation and adaptation investments over time.

Crucially, the GCF maintains an equitable governance structure, balanced between developed and developing countries.

The GCF is committed to stakeholder engagement and local input, ensuring direct access for the communities in which projects are funded.

Furthermore, the GCF promotes fair labor and working conditions, and through its Environment and Social Management System ensures protections for local communities.

Of utmost importance, the GCF has is dedicated to protecting marginalized communities and promoting human rights, including through its Indigenous People’s Policy,Gender Policy, and Policy on the Prevention and Protection from Sexual Exploitation, Sexual Abuse, and Sexual Harassment.

The GCF continues to evaluate its practices and take additional steps to strengthen protections for marginalized groups.

While the GCF, like any large multilateral fund, is not perfect – and problems with its management and programming have recently come to light – we believe it remains by far the best option for U.S. multilateral climate finance.

The United States and a highly engaged civil society coalition continue to press for positive changes in the GCF’s management, governance, programming, and accountability.

In 2014, the United States pledged to contribute $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund as part its Initial Resource Mobilization, during which 45 countries pledged a total of $10.3 billion.

However, only $1 billion of the U.S. pledge was fulfilled and, under the Trump Administration, the remaining $2 billion was never provided. In 2019, the GCF underwent its first replenishment (GCF-1), and 31 nations pledged a combined $9.9 billion, with over half of the contributors more than doubling their initial pledges.

Yet, the United States’ absence was felt, and the capacity of our nation to increase the available funds would be transformational to the GCF’s work.

It is clear that your administration understands the vital need to recommitting to the Green Climate Fund. On January 27th, President Biden issued an Executive Order that states, “The United States will also immediately begin to develop a climate finance plan, making strategic use of multilateral and bilateral channels and institutions, to assist developing countries in implementing ambitious emissions reduction measures.” Just two days prior, at the Climate Adaptation Summit 2021, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry declared, “We will significantly increase the flow of finance, including concessional finance, to adaptation and resilience initiatives. We will work with bilateral and multilateral institutions to improve the quality of resilience programming.”

It is encouraging and invigorating to see such strong language from your administration. Special Envoy Kerry also recognized a key facet of international climate financing, which is that it is the poorest and most vulnerable peoples of the world who face the worst impacts of climate change, though they contribute the least.

It is in this spirit that the United States’ can embody global environmental justice through contributions to the Green Climate Fund.

As the world’s largest historical greenhouse gas emitter and one of the wealthiest countries in the world, it is incumbent upon the United States to contribute its fair share to global mitigation and adaptation efforts by providing financing to developing countries for just and equitable climate action.

We, therefore, ask the administration to do the following:

  • Make a new pledge to the GCF-1 replenishment of $6 billion, in line with our global partners who have doubled their initial pledges.
  • Include in the Fiscal Year 2022 Presidential Budget Request $4 billion for the Green Climate Fund, paying off our arrears from the GCF’s Initial Resource Mobilization and the first installment of our new, GCF-1 commitment.
  • Signal support in your Fiscal Year 2022 Presidential Budget Request for a significant increase in the International Affairs budget to enable these climate commitments.

We believe this funding is essential to our shared goals of mitigating and adapting to climate change.

Significantly increased international climate finance from the United States alongside other wealthy countries is a prerequisite for meeting the goal of keeping global temperature rise under 1.5, or even 2, degrees Celsius, and ensuring that communities around the world are able to survive the impacts of the crisis that are already being felt.

Such investment will also have the welcome effect of putting the United States on a new, restored path of global leadership on climate change.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter and for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

Representative Espaillat


Representative Espaillat is the first Dominican American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and his congressional district includes Harlem, East Harlem, West Harlem, Hamilton Heights, Washington Heights, Inwood, Marble Hill and the north-west Bronx. First elected to Congress in 2016, Representative Espaillat is serving his third term in Congress.

Representative Espaillat currently serves as a member of the influential U.S. House Committee on Appropriations responsible for funding the federal government’s vital activities.

He is also a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), where he serves as the Second Vice Chair and is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, where he serves as Deputy Whip.

Representative Espaillat also currently serves as a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus. To find out more about Rep. Espaillat, visit online at https://espaillat.house.gov/.

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