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What Happened to the U.N.'s $100 Million Green Development Fund?

When the world’s poor countries demanded action during the failing United Nations–led climate negotiations in Copenhagen in 2009, the U.S. government responded with a promise: It would help raise $100 billion a year by 2020 to assist efforts to cope with climate change in the global south.

Out of that commitment slowly has grown a peculiar but potentially important institution known as the Green Climate Fund. The fund has nowhere near $100 billion to spend but, if all goes according to plan, it will deliver significant aid to impoverished nations threatened by a warming planet.

The idea behind the fund is simple: The world’s rich nations, led by the U.S. and Europe, are responsible for most of the greenhouse gases that cause climate change, but the burdens of a warming planet fall most heavily on poor countries. Consequently, the fund takes from the rich and give to the poor — like Robin Hood, but with the legal and political backing of the U.N.

Jussi-Pekka Erkkola

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