Office of the Spokesperson
December 9, 2015
Climate change is a global threat that requires a global solution. Yet, many of the countries that have contributed little to global emissions are impacted the most.
Changing rainfall patterns and melting glaciers will jeopardize water supplies for hundreds of millions of people. Global sea levels have risen about 8 inches over the last century, placing a heavy burden on island nations in particular. Climate change enhances the spread of pests that cause life threatening diseases like dengue, malaria, and Lyme disease. And climate change is increasing the risk of extreme weather events with more intense hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons, heavier rain and snowfall, more frequent and intense heat waves, and longer droughts that are already impacting food security in poor countries.
The Obama Administration is committed to helping vulnerable nations prepare for, and build resilience to, the impacts of climate change. That’s why Secretary of State John Kerry today announced that the United States will double its grant-based, public climate finance for adaptation by 2020.
As of 2014, the United States invested more than $400 million per year of grant-based resources for climate adaptation in developing countries. These investments provide support – through both bilateral and multilateral channels – to vulnerable countries to reduce climate risks in key areas, including infrastructure, agriculture, health and water services.
Today’s commitment to double that figure by 2020 is a component of an existing commitment by developed countries to jointly mobilize $100 billion per year by 2020 from a wide variety of sources, in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation.
Today’s announcement builds on steps taken by the Administration before and in Paris.
• Supporting the Least Developed Countries Fund: In his speech to the COP, President Obama joined ten other countries in announcing contributions totaling $248 million to the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF), which plays a key role in addressing urgent and immediate adaptation needs of least developed countries, focusing on reducing the vulnerability of sectors and resources that are central to human and national development.
• Providing Risk Insurance to Hundreds of Millions of People in Vulnerable Countries: The next day, during a meeting with island nation leaders, President Obama announced a contribution of $30 million to support insurance initiatives under the Pacific Catastrophic Risk Assessment and Financing Initiative, expand the Caribbean Catastrophic Risk Insurance Facility to cover Central American countries, and support the African Risk Capacity program. This was an important step toward the goal G-7 leaders set this summer to increase by up to 400 million the number of people in the most vulnerable developing countries who will have access to insurance against the negative impact of climate change hazards by 2020.
• Building Climate Resilience into All U.S. International Assistance: In 2014, the President announced an Executive Order requiring Federal agencies to factor climate-resilience considerations systematically into the U.S. government’s international development work and to promote a similar approach with multilateral entities.
• Expanding Climate Resilience Data Tools: Also in 2014, President Obama announced a new set of tools to harness the unique scientific and technological capabilities of the United States to help vulnerable populations around the world strengthen their climate resilience, including improved and extended extreme weather risk outlooks to help avoid loss of life and property; data, tools and services to enable countries to better prepare for the impacts of climate change, including global elevation data; and a new public-private partnership to ensure that the climate data, tools, and products made available by U.S. technical agencies are useful to developing countries.