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Q+A: Why Should the United States Contribute to Climate Finance?

By Emily Storz
Drexel News Blog


November 8, 2018

Global temperatures have been rising for decades, but recent headlines indicate that climate change is happening even faster than climate scientists anticipated. Recent studies show the Earth’s oceans are building and storing heat at rates much higher than previously estimated. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), recently released a sobering report detailing the looming economic and environmental impacts of a rapidly warming world.

“The need for transformative action on climate change is dire,” said Erin Graham, PhD, an assistant professor in Drexel University’s College of Arts and Sciences. Graham is an expert on the design and development of international organizations, and her research focuses on climate change and global health issues. In a recent column in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientistsshe explains why the United States must continue to support developing nations in reducing emissions and adapting to the effects of climate change, despite its withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement.

“When the United States announced it would withdraw from the Paris Agreement, the question of how it would affect domestic emissions in the U.S. was front and center. But other U.S. obligations — like the need to provide climate finance to developing countries — were mostly ignored,” she wrote in the column.

In a Q+A with the Drexel News Blog, Graham broke down why the economies of the future need to be low-carbon and why we need to facilitate and finance them now.

What is “climate finance”?

Climate finance is money that is invested in projects to mitigate climate change or adapt to its effects. Mitigation aims to reduce emissions. Adaptation aims to help people deal with the impacts of a changing climate — think seawalls or drought-resistant crops. In the context of international climate agreements, finance is mostly provided by wealthy, developed countries and transferred to poorer, developing countries. Climate finance is delivered through international organizations, like the Global Environment Facility, Green Climate Fund and Adaptation Fund.

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