Earlier today at a meeting of Commonwealth nations in Malta, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that his government would increase its Green Climate Fund commitment to $2.65 billion.
Here's a quick rundown what that actually means.
The Green Climate Fund was set up as part of the United Nations climate negotiation process, with a goal of raising $100 billion from both the public and private sector by 2020. The wealthiest countries at the negotiating table have been under pressure to contribute more money to the Green Climate Fund.
The idea behind the Green Climate Fund is to overcome a major sticking point in the UN climate treaty process, which is that developing nations are being asked to invest in renewable energy technology and take measures to reduce the impacts of climate change, but do not have nearly the money needed to do so.
The money raised for the Green Climate Fund will be spent on projects that help developing nations in regions like sub-Saharan Africa adapt to the impacts of climate change, as well as put in place their own greenhouse gas mitigation plans.
Earlier this year, former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced his government would commit $300 million to the Green Climate Fund. This announcement was not met favorably, considering Canada is the 10th wealthiest nation in the world, and that other countries have commitmed much more. The U.S. has pledged $3 billion and Japan, Germany, France and Britain have all pledged over $1 billion to the Green Climate Fund.
With today's announcement by Prime Minister Trudeau, Canada has not only become one of the largest contributors to the Green Climate Fund, but it also will put a lot of pressure on other wealthy nations at the upcoming UN climate summit in Paris, to commit for the first time, or re-up the commitments they have already made. Looking at the pledge tracker maintained by the Green Climate Fund, Trudeau's commitment (in U.S. dollars) puts Canada second only to the United States when it comes to overall amounts committed.
As for Trudeau, he will now be coming into the Paris negotiations on a wave of positive momentum, both domestically and internationally, but will still be put to task over other major issues that Canada is still considered weak on. Three big issues that remain unaddressed are:
1) Canada's overall reduction target and stated year to meet that target,
2) whether Alberta's oilsands will be included in any nation-wide greenhouse gas reduction commitments, and
3) if a cap-and-trade type system is to be implemented, at what “floor price” will taxes on emissions start.
All very big issues, and while it is unrealistic for a government so early in its mandate to commit outright to all these things at the Paris climate summit starting this Monday, observers will be looking for further details on what a final Canadian action plan on climate change might look like.