Barack Obama has faced tough resistance to the implementation of his landmark Clean Power Plan unveiled at the Paris climate talks last year, which is designed to cut U.S. carbon emissions in order to fight climate change. Earlier this year, the plan hit a setback when it was ruled that all legal challenges to the bill must be heard before it can move forward, making it unlikely that Obama would see the plan in action before he leaves office at the beginning of next year.
But this week, the Obama administration has defied Republican opposition and gone ahead with another climate change pledge, paying $500 million into the United Nations-backed Green Climate Fund – an international body created to assist developing countries adapt to and mitigate climate change. This is the first installment of the $3 billion pledged by Obama to help poorer nations fight global warming, and it is seen as the government providing reassurances that they are serious about the commitments made in Paris and that they will follow through with their other pledges.
While the Green Climate Fund (GCF) is separate from Obama’s Clean Power Plan, both schemes aim to try and mitigate the potentially devastating effects of climate change. But both have faced antipathy from Republicans, who initially vowed to block the contributions to the GCF and who have so far managed to stall the Clean Power Plan. Other developed nations have donated around $10 billion to the GCF.
The announcement of the GCF grant comes ahead of the President’s meeting this week with the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, where they are expected to reveal joint climate initiatives. This environmental climate package is thought to include, among other things, talks about auto emissions, car technology, and potential trade elements on Canadian timber.
“In the first meeting that the President had with Prime Minister Trudeau during our trip to the Philippines last fall, it was clear that there were a number of issues where the United States and Canada very effectively cooperate. And countering climate change is an important one,” the White House press secretary Josh Earnest said at a press briefing last week. “It means that there may be an opportunity for the United States and Canada to coordinate even more effectively our policies when it comes to fighting climate change.”