Poorer nations robust in the face of Trump pullout from climate deal


By Alister Doyle Environment Correspondent

OSLO (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s pullout from the Paris climate agreement will make it harder for the least developed nations to adhere to their commitments but they are determined to meet their goals under the deal.

Developing nations agreed the 2015 Paris deal after the rich set a goal of raising climate finance from $100 billion a year from 2020 to help the poor limit greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to more heat waves, floods, storms and rising seas.

“It will be harder for us,” Gebru Jember Endalew of Ethiopia, who heads the 48-nation group of the least developed nations at U.N. climate negotiations, said of Trump’s decision.

But he said that the poorest nations, from Afghanistan to Zambia, had no plans to quit the Paris Agreement.

“Climate finance is the biggest bad (from Trump’s decision),” said Clare Shakya, director of climate change at the International Institute for Environment and Development think-tank in London. “It’s the most significant geopolitically”.

Even so, she said developing nations were inured over many years to shortfalls in promised funds and were likely to push ahead.

“As far as the vulnerable developing countries are concerned they have long since factored in this non-payment of the U.S.’s dues,” said Saleemul Huq, of the University of Bangladesh.

“All the countries are going ahead with their respective commitments regardless of getting funds or not,” he said.

Christiana Figueres, who was the U.N. climate chief at Paris, said “increasingly developing nations are understanding they need to act at home for their own interests … This is very much a self-motivated action”.


Nations led by China and India all reaffirmed their support for the Paris Agreement after Trump announced that he was leaving on Thursday, saying the deal was unfair and that Washington was paying more than its fair share.

Trump said he would “terminate” U.S. obligations to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), a main arm of U.N. climate funds, saying Washington had already paid $1 billion and that “many other nations haven’t spent anything, and many of them will never pay one dime”.

A GCF overview from May 12 says about 40 nations have disbursed cash to the fund. Per capita, Sweden is the most generous and has paid out $60 to the GCF, against $3 for each American, the figures showed.

Total pledges add up to $10 billion, including an unmet U.S. promise of $3 billion by U.S. President Barack Obama.

“Trump made a series of inaccurate and misleading statements about the Green Climate Fund,” said Karen Orenstein, of Friends of the Earth in the United States.

A report last year for the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development indicated that rich nations are on track to keep the pledge for $100 billion a year by 2020, from both public and private sources.

It estimated that funds had reached $62 billion by 2014. State Department data for 2015 say that the United States provided $2.6 billion in public funds towards climate finance.

Less finance will dim U.S. influence.

“With the USA out of the Paris Agreement, it cannot pressure other countries, such as the large emerging economies, to do more,” said Robert Stavins, director of Harvard University’s environmental economics programme.

“Worse yet, the announced departure may encourage some countries to do less than they had anticipated. In the worst possible outcome, the U.S. announcement could eventually even lead to the broad Paris coalition unravelling,” he said.

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