"We are going to contribute $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund so we can help developing nations deal with climate change,” said Obama.
The Green Climate Fund says that it aims to promote a “paradigm shift” in the use of energy and in development.
“The Fund will contribute to the achievement of the ultimate objective of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC),” the fund says on its website. “In the context of sustainable development, the Fund will promote the paradigm shift towards low-emission and climate-resilient development pathways by providing support to developing countries to limit or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the impacts of climate change, taking into account the needs of those developing countries particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. The Fund will be guided by the principles and provisions of the Convention.”
This fund to which Obama intends to funnel $3 billion in U.S. taxpayer money lists among its board members Ziqian Liang, the deputy director general of the International Department of the Ministry of Finance of the People’s Republic of China. It also lists as board members Ayman Shasly, and international policies consultant with the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources of Saudi Arabia; and Jorge Ferrer Rodriquez, a minister counsellor with the Multilateral Affairs and International Law General Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba.
“We cannot forget the need to lead on the global fight against climate change,” Obama said in his speech at the University of Queensland.
“Here in the Asia Pacific, nobody has more at stake when it comes to thinking about and then acting on climate change,” Obama said. “Here, a climate that increases in temperature will mean more extreme and frequent storms, more flooding, rising seas that submerge Pacific islands. Here in Australia, it means longer droughts, more wildfires. The incredible natural glory of the Great Barrier Reef is threated. Worldwide, this past summer was the hottest on record. No nation is immune, and every nation has a responsibility to do its part.”
Obama called on younger people to become climate change activists.
“But let me say, particularly again to the young people here: Combating climate change cannot be the work of governments alone,” Obama said. “Citizens, especially the next generation, you have to keep raising your voices, because you deserve to live your lives in a world that is cleaner and that is healthier and that is sustainable. But that is not going to happen unless you are heard.”
The Associated Press cited former U.S. Sen. Tim Wirth who said that he did not believe Obama could get the $3 billion to give to this U.N. fund without the approval of Congress.
The AP reported: “It wasn't immediately clear where Obama planned to find the money. Sen. Timothy Wirth, vice chairman of the United Nations Foundation and a politician who has been on both House and Senate budget committees, said he doesn't see how the Obama administration can get the money without approval from a Republican Congress, which he said is unlikely to happen.”
Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, who is the senior member on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, issued a statement criticizing Obama’s pledge.
"President Obama’s pledge to give unelected bureaucrats at the U.N. $3 billion for climate change initiatives is an unfortunate decision to not listen to voters in this most recent election cycle,” Inhofe said. “His climate change spending priorities, estimated to be $120 billion since the beginning of his administration, were on the ballot, and Americans spoke.
“The President’s climate change agenda has only siphoned precious taxpayer dollars away from the real problems facing the American people,” said Inhofe. “In a new Congress, I will be working with my colleagues to reset the misguided priorities of Washington in the past six years. This includes getting our nation’s debt under control, securing proper equipment and training to protect our men and women in uniform, and repairing our nation’s crumbling roads and bridges. These are the realistic priorities of today.”