President Joe Biden announced plans to increase U.S. funding to help developing countries fight climate change and curb deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest during a virtual meeting today with leaders from the world’s largest economies. Biden announced a U.S. contribution of $1 billion to the Green Climate Fund, doubling the country’s contribution.
“The impacts of climate change will be felt the most by those who have contributed the least to the problem, including developing nations,” Biden said. “As large economies and large emitters, we must step up and support these economies.”
Biden urged his counterparts at the Major Economies Forum (MEF) — including representatives from Argentina, Chile, China, the European Commission, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom — to be ambitious in setting goals to reduce emissions and meet a target of limiting overall global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
President Alberto Fernández praised Biden’s commitment but questioned the absence of financial aid to developing countries struggling to tackle the climate crisis.
“From the south of the Americas, we are concerned about the lack of global financial instruments that help our countries to confront the challenges imposed by climate change,” Fernández said.
“We firmly believe that the multilateral climate finance architecture must be fair, transparent, equitable, and based on the principles of common responsibility but differentiated and [according to countries’] respective abilities.”
Last week, non-profit Avaaz held a tango performance outside the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) headquarters, calling for Argentina to be internationally recognized as an ecological creditor in order to restructure its debt through debt-for-climate and debt-for-nature swaps.
“If we don’t have healthy ecosystems then we won’t have a healthy economy,” Campaign Director Oscar Soria told the Herald. “Reparation costs are generated because of preventable natural disasters.”
The countries that take part in the forum account for about 80% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and global gross domestic product, according to the White House. Today’s meeting is the group’s fourth under Biden’s presidency.
Biden also announced plans to request $500 million over five years to contribute to the Amazon Fund, which works to combat deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon and related activities. A senior administration official said Biden’s team would have to work with Congress to secure that funding.
“Together, we have to make it clear that forests are more valuable conserved than cleared,” Biden said.
His announcement comes during a week of tension between the United States and Brazil after Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva called for Western powers to stop supplying arms to Ukraine and said the United States was encouraging the fighting between Ukraine and Russia. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also visited Brazil on Monday, although Lula has since condemned Russia’s violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity.