Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is in the news complaining about U.S. President Donald Trump not sending more U.S. taxpayer dollars to the UN Green Climate Fund. A look at Green Climate Fund spending, however, shows Ki-moon has no reason to complain; the Green Climate Fund is wasting U.S. taxpayer dollars.
The Green Climate Fund was created under the Paris climate agreement that former president Barack Obama supported but declined to send to the U.S. Senate for ratification. Despite no binding U.S. commitment to the Paris agreement, Obama pledged $3 billion to the fund, distributing $1 billion to the fund before leaving office. Hillary Clinton promised more Green Climate Fund distributions as part of her 2016 presidential campaign. Upon taking office in January 2017, however, president Donald Trump has declined to send any more of Obama’s pledged money to the Fund.
“With the U.S. pullout of this (Paris) climate agreement, we are not sure whether $100 billion by 2020 will be met,” Ki-moon told Reuters (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-climatechange-politics/climate-fund-snags-threaten-opportunity-to-fight-warming-ban-ki-moon-idUSKCN1LC01T).
“I am deeply concerned that the GCF – while it has been really trying to work – has not been fully funded,” Ki-moon added.
Money from the Green Climate Fund, however, has been disbursed for highly questionable projects, even if one believes dubious global warming predictions. For example, a $50 million Green Climate Fund spending program in Ethiopia is called “Responding to the Increasing Risk of Drought: Building Gender-responsive Resilience of the Most Vulnerable Communities.” Focusing on ‘gender justice,’ the UN emphasizes that “Over 50% of the beneficiaries will be women.”
Forgetting for the moment the appropriateness of directing climate dollars to a gender-justice agenda, there is clearly no need for the program. While the program emphasizes drought vulnerability, global warming is not bringing drought to Ethiopia. Instead, global warming is bringing ideal climate conditions reflected in satellite images showing a dramatic greening of Ethiopia.
NASA satellite data shows substantial greening during recent decades across much of the earth. “Carbon dioxide fertilization explains 70 percent of the greening effect,” NASA reports (https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2016/carbon-dioxide-fertilization-greening-earth). Warmer temperatures and more favorable precipitation explain much of the rest, according to NASA.
Global greening is especially dramatic in Ethiopia. Satellite images show a greater than 30-percent increase in foliage throughout much of the country since 1982. Climate-related drought programs in Ethiopia appear, therefore, to be a waste of Green Climate Fund (and U.S. taxpayer) dollars.
The Ethiopia boondoggle is just one of many under the Green Climate Fund. Stay tuned for more updates.