Opinion: 5 things Trump's Paris climate speech got wrong in his attack on the Green Climate Fund

U.S. President Donald Trump. Photo by: U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley / CC BY

This article originally appeared in Medium.

Donald Trump announced this afternoon that the United States will begin the process of withdrawing from the Paris Agreement. During his remarks, Trump made a series of inaccurate and misleading statements about the Green Climate Fund in connection to his withdrawal decision.

The United Nations Green Climate Fund is the world’s premier multilateral fund to help vulnerable women, men and children in developing countries confront the climate crisis.

Trump’s venomous attack on the GCF spewed lies and ignorance.

We need to correct the record:

Trump said: The Green Climate Fund is a $100 billion fund.

Reality: The GCF is a $10.3 billion fund. Trump’s $100 billion figure comes from the amount that developed countries have collectively committed to mobilize annually for developing countries by 2020 through a process unrelated to the GCF. There has never been an intention for the GCF to be a $100 billion fund.

Trump said: U.S. funding for the GCF represents a major portion of our country’s already massive foreign aid payment.

Reality: The U.S. contribution to the GCF represents 0.00559 percent of U.S. GDP. In total, poverty-alleviation focused foreign aid represented just 0.8 percent of the federal budget over the past several years.

Trump said: The budget for the so-called war on terror was raided to pay for the U.S. contribution to the Green Climate Fund.

Reality: When a statement is so far from any basis in fact, it is hard to rebut. Funding for the GCF comes from U.S. taxpayers, who overwhelmingly support action on climate change. U.S. contributions have come from a line item under the Department of Treasury and discretionary funds from the Economic Support Fund.

Trump said: The U.S. is the largest contributor to the GCF.

Reality: Sweden, for example, contributes far more per capita than the U.S.

Trump said: The GCF could obligate the U.S. to commit tens of billions of dollars.

Reality: All contributions to the GCF are voluntary.

Join the Devex community and access more in-depth analysis, breaking news and business advice — and a host of other services — on international development, humanitarian aid and global health.

About the author

  • Unnamed

    Karen Orenstein

    Karen Orenstein is the deputy director of the economic policy program at Friends of the Earth, where she oversees work on international public finance. Karen specializes in climate finance — to ensure the provision and effective use of funds from countries in the Global North for those in the Global South to take climate action rooted in science, justice and fairness.