Critics of the global green plans put forward by the United Nations, like the Kyoto Protocol or the Paris Climate Agreement, have long said it was about shifting money from rich countries to poor countries with little to show for it and now, even The New York Times is seeing the evidence.
The latest round of UN climate talks are currently taking place in Bonn, Germany and on the agenda is making sure there is enough money for the Green Climate Fund. The fund, which the United States pulled out of earlier this year taking $3 billion in funding with it, is supposed to be there to back projects that will help developing countries adapt to climate change. But now, even The Times is reporting that, like with so many things the UN touches, there are lots of questions about where the money is really going:
The observers took issue, for example, with a proposed project that would hand out $265 million in equity and grants to Geeref Next, a Luxembourg-based investment fund that proposed to finance renewable energy or energy efficiency projects in about 30 countries — with no explicit plan to disclose what those projects would be.
The fund’s 24-member board approved the proposal.
Those raising concerns say the Green Climate Fund suffers from a real lack of transparency despite dealing with money donated by wealthy countries that is supposed to help the most vulnerable. The Times cited several other questionable projects:
According to funding proposals for the 54 projects approved so far, as well as a record of objections raised by board observers, other projects that have raised red flags include:
• $25 million in equity and grants administered from Mauritius, a corporate tax haven, for off-grid solar power in Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda;
• $50 million in loans and grants to repair a Soviet-era dam in Tajikistan, even though experts have warned that hydropower there is vulnerable to the retreat of the snow melt that feeds dams;
• $9 million in loans to a renewable energy project in rural Mongolia that observers worried would be used to power coal mining.
The UN has a history of scandals, from Oil For Food to the rampaging problem of UN peacekeeping forces being engaged in the local sex trade, or outright sexual exploitation or assault on the local populations they are supposed to be protecting. Calls to fix those problems, or bring about transparency on UN operations, have generally failed.
President Obama had pledged $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund on behalf of American taxpayers, Donald Trump withdrew that funding earlier this year.