An initiative by the United Nations meant to promote green energy has been plagued with inefficiency and rampant funding of programs through corrupt governments.
The Green Energy Climate Fund had ambitious goals when it was launched by the United Nations in 2010. Based in Songdo, South Korea, and employing 250 people, the organization’s mission is to boost renewable energy development in third-world countries with money donated from richer countries. Former President Barack Obama was a major supporter of the initiative and pledged $3 billion of U.S. taxpayer dollars.
The Obama administration was only able to donate $1 billion before President Donald Trump entered office. Unfortunately for the GCF, the Republican president was not a fan of the program. In his 2017 decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement, Trump also indicated he would not be donating the remaining $2 billion. (RELATED: President Trump Has Rendered The Green Climate Fund Nearly Useless)
While his decision was widely derided by environmentalists and other progressive groups, not everyone agreed the GCF was worth investing in.
“This is a welcome development, given the endemic corruption in the countries and organizations on the receiving end of GCF dollars,” Ross Marchand, the director of policy at Taxpayer Protection Alliance, said in a statement to The Daily Caller News Foundation. The Taxpayer Protection Alliance, which monitors wasteful spending by the U.S. government, has been critical of the GCF’s handling of money.
“How can we trust, for instance, that the $5 million given by the GCF to the Tajikistan government will be allocated wisely, given the country’s abysmal corruption rankings? Given the exposure of ‘anti-corruption’ officials in that country as corrupt themselves, there is absolutely zero accountability for dispersed U.S. dollars,” Marchand continued.
In the eight years since it began, the GCF has committed around $4 billion to more than 75 projects around the world. However, a number of its investments have struggled to implement their intended goals, exemplifying the realities that come with doing business in impoverished, dysfunctional countries.
For example, a $30-million solar project in Zambia has been delayed repeatedly. Engineers for the project cite the government’s inability to provide basic information as reason for the continued setbacks. Hope for better renewable energy development in the African country appeared less likely after members of Zambia’s Industrial Development Corporation were revealed to have falsified legal documents and involved in worldwide criminal activity.
Vietnam — a nation that is ranked 107th out of 180 in Transparency International’s index of corrupt countries — is also a recipient of GCF investment. The Southeast Asian country received $80 million in funding, along with another $100 million from the World Bank. A government executive in Vietnam’s energy industry was sentenced in January to life in jail for embezzlement and corruption — giving the international community reason to worry about its investments.
“American taxpayers deserve better than having their hard-earned dollars redistributed to strongmen in their cronies in the name of ‘sustainability,'” stated Marchand.
The loss of funding from the U.S. and elsewhere has made green-lighting new, expensive projects nearly impossible for the beleaguered Green Climate Fund. After only serving for a year and a half, Howard Bamsey abruptly resigned his position as GCF’s executive director immediately following a difficult June 4 meeting that saw no new projects receive approval.
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