A mother carries her child in one hand and a packet of collected food in the other down a flooded road on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, in August 2002. Floods are expected to become more frequent and severe in the face of climate change. ©AP Image / Jewel Samad
The Global Climate Change Initiative (GCCI) is one of three high-priority Presidential Initiatives. U.S. leadership on climate change strengthens our international posture while helping to build a clean-energy world less exposed and more resilient to climate dangers. In Cancun, Mexico, during the United Nations Climate Change Conference in December 2010, the world took an important step toward meeting the climate and clean energy challenge, as all major economies will take actions to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in a transparent way. GCCI funds support the U.S. commitment to contribute its share of $30 billion over the 2010-2012 period for "fast-start" funding to help developing countries address climate change while maintaining development gains. This commitment was made in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Copenhagen climate negotiations in 2009 and reaffirmed in Cancun. U.S. Government-wide finance in support of this pledge totaled over $3 billion in FY 2011 appropriated funds.
The GCCI, organized into three "pillars" (Adaptation, Clean Energy, and Sustainable Landscapes), is:
The whole-of-government Enhancing Capacity for Low Emission Development Strategies (EC-LEDS) program supports developing countries' efforts to pursue sustainable, climate-resilient economic growth while slowing the release of GHG emissions. In FY 2011, the EC-LEDS team led seven scoping assessments, exchanged knowledge and built field capacity in an inter-agency workshop, and established agreed work programs with two partner country governments-Bangladesh and Costa Rica.
Through the GCCI, the U.S. Government released the United States' strategy to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and increase carbon sequestration by forests in developing countries, commonly referred to as REDD+. This U.S. Government-wide strategy outlines how the U.S. will invest the $1 billion dedicated for REDD+ announced by the Obama Administration at the UNFCCC meeting in Copenhagen in December 2009. The strategy was developed through an interagency process facilitated by the White House National Security Council and the Council on Environmental Quality.
Dedicated adaptation programs are critical to demonstrating a longer term, climate-resilient development perspective. In FY 2011, USAID disseminated tools for use by Missions, Bureaus, and host country governments. A number of innovative demonstration activities related to pilot insurance, risk management, and climate services were initiated.
The Department of State supported multilateral programs and processes that build international consensus on, and the ability to address, climate change challenges. These programs and processes include the international bodies that lead the climate change negotiations and global scientific analysis of climate change, efforts to increase global uptake of new clean energy technologies through the Clean Energy Ministerial, the Global Methane Initiative, the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas, and the Montreal Protocol, and support for multilateral funds that assist the most vulnerable developing countries.