Obama shores up Paris Agreement with last-minute $500m payment

President Obama's eleventh hour transfer to the Green Climate Fund will likely annoy his successor, who is expected to cease any further payments when he takes office. [Evan El-Amin/ Shutterstock]

Barack Obama has heeded calls to help secure the future of the historic Paris Agreement by transferring a second $500 million instalment to the Green Climate Fund, just three days before he leaves office. That leaves $2 billion unpaid as Donald Trump takes office.

The fund was a key aspect of the Paris Agreement signed in 2015, which aims to keep global warming “well below” 2 degrees Celsius and aspires to keep warming to 1.5 C.

Established in 2010, it is financed by wealthy countries and used to assist developing countries with adaptation and mitigation. It was widely seen as a key measure to bring both rich and poor countries to the negotiating table.

Paris Agreement: Saving face and negating Trump

The Paris Agreement has to come into force as soon as possible in order for the EU to maintain its tag as a climate policy trailblazer and to counter the effects of a possible Trump presidency. EURACTIV’s partner Der Tagesspiegel reports.

The US committed to transferring $3 billion to the fund. The new instalment leaves $2 billion owing, with incoming President Donald Trump expected to cease any further payments.

The move followed a large campaign, with more than 100 organisations and nearly 100,000 people calling for Obama to transfer the full $2.5 billion owed to the fund.

“The Obama administration is refusing to let President-elect Trump’s posse of oil barons and climate deniers dictate how the world responds to the climate crisis,” said Tamar Lawrence-Samuel of Corporate Accountability International, which led the campaign.

“Tens of thousands of people around the world called on President Obama to step up before Trump takes the keys of our government and tries to reverse decades of climate progress,” she said. “This victory is the climate justice movement’s opening salvo to the Trump presidency. And we’re not going away.”

The money is being drawn from the state department, the same way that the first transfer was, allowing it to be done using executive powers without congressional support.

Petition calls for Barack Obama to fulfil Green Climate Fund pledge

More than 100 climate and development organisations, along with 70,000 people, have called on Barack Obama to help secure the future of the Paris Agreement by transferring the remaining $2.5bn committed by the US.