Donald Trump has repeatedly called climate change a hoax. He appointed a man who says he doesn’t believe in climate change to head the transition team for the Environmental Protection Agency. He has threatened to yank any money the U.S. has pledged to help the world deal with climate change.
In other words, Trump plans to do everything he can to reverse progress on climate change. His policies threaten disaster for people and the planet.
But there’s one thing President Obama can do before he leaves office that Trump can’t undo.
The U.S. has promised to pay $3 billion into a fund that will help people in Global South countries dealing with the disasters of climate change right now. If Obama releases the full amount before he leaves office, it will have a huge impact on the lives of billions of people around the world — and Trump won’t be able to touch it.
Donald Trump has made clear he plans to end funding for climate progress. But Obama can release the money the U.S. has pledged right now — and send a strong message to the rest of the world that progress on climate change must continue, no matter who is in the White House.
Securing this funding was one of the top concerns I heard from allies from around the world, from Nigeria to the Philippines, at the most recent negotiations for the U.N. climate treaty.
That’s because money is key to ensuring climate justice. Globally, just as in the U.S., communities of color and low-income communities are the ones bearing the brunt of climate change, and have done the least to create the problem.
The money that the U.S. and other wealthy countries have pledged to support Global South countries on climate will make a tangible difference in the lives of people who are facing the effects of climate change right now. For example, the Green Climate Fund will fund ways for small island nations to protect themselves against the rising oceans and catastrophic storms. It will help countries put drought monitoring systems in place. It will finance renewable energy infrastructure, and more.
It’s one huge step forward on climate change that Donald Trump cannot undo.