Head of U.N. “Green Climate Fund” Resigns

Howard Bamsey resigned after participants were unable to agree on projects to fund or how to go forward.

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green climate fund

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) was established in 2010 by the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC, or “Climate Convention”) as the principal instrument of “climate finance”.

Although the term is also used more broadly, climate finance under the UNFCCC means transfers of public financial resources from developed countries to developing countries, for the purpose of helping the latter to reduce emissions of “greenhouse gas” (GHG).

This is the fund that is trying to raise US$100 billion by 2020. It is the fund that is one of reasons that President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 Paris Agreement. There have been all sorts of difficulties trying to get it up and running.

Of the $100 billion agreed to be raised at Paris, barely one-tenth has been pledged, of which one-third has been committed, of which two-fifths have been implemented.

In other words, only $1.4 billion have actually been set to work on agreed projects. Of that amount, two-thirds were sent by the Administration of President Barack Obama, including $500 million sent three days before he left office.

At a four-day GCF meeting just concluded in South Korea, its executive director, the Australian Howard Bamsey, resigned after participants were unable to agree on decisions on another $1 billion of funding on proposed projects. They were also unable to decide how to how to raise more funds. He had been on the job only since January 2017.

Press reports and comments by representatives after conclusion of the meeting used such words as “dysfunctional” and “toxic” to describe the preparation for and atmosphere of the meeting. The process of hiring a new executive director is going forward with a view towards the next meeting in October.

The GCF is headquartered in South Korea where a staff of 250 personnel work.

R.M. Cutler

Chairman, Montreal Press Club Board of Directors

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