A former United Nations secretary general is trying to set up a new organization in order to help the world adapt to climate change. But according to him, there’s one big obstacle standing in the way — U.S. President Donald Trump.
Ban Ki-moon, who served as the head of the UN from 2007 to 2016, is starting a new international organization, along with Bill and Melinda Gates, called the Global Commission on Climate Adaptation, according to reporting from Bloomberg. It’s a collective effort of 17 nations, including the United Kingdom, Canada, and Germany, that aims to recommend steps for reducing the harm of rising temperatures throughout the world, specifically laying out why other nations should take those actions for both economic and scientific reasons.
The formation of the commission comes as a similar UN group, the Green Climate Fund, faces a series of setbacks. Originally, that fund was supposed to collect large payments from wealthy nations around the world, which had committed billions of dollars annually to address the needs of all nations across the world as the effects of climate change become reality.
But Trump opted out of that commitment, refusing to pay $3 billion to the fund that former President Barack Obama had promised.
???????? thanks the chair of the Global Commission on Adaptation, Ban Ki-moon, for his leadership on this important initiative! #AccelerateAdaptation #ClimateAction @GCAdaptation pic.twitter.com/TlSGEquyjO— Canada's Ambassador for Climate Change (@CanAmbClimate) October 16, 2018
Other problems plague the Green Climate Fund. The board of directors for that fund hasn’t approved any new projects in more than six months, and the chair of the organization stepped down in July. The vacant position hasn’t yet been filled by anyone.
Ban’s hope is that his new organization can pick up the slack where the UN group has failed, but he sees Trump’s actions as detrimental to the rest of the world on the issue of addressing climate change.
“Since the beginning of President Trump’s administration, since my retirement from the United Nations, I am feeling very much concern,” Ban said.
The lack of leadership and the reneging of obligations from the U.S., Ban added, creates “serious political damage on all international multilateral systems, including particularly climate actions.”
Trump is largely to blame for the current inaction from America, Ban added. But he’s hopeful that the U.S. can lead again on the issue.
“The problem is that President Trump, he doesn’t listen to anybody’s call. The U.S. will definitely have to come back. And I think they will come back. If not during President Trump’s time, then whoever becomes his successor.”
Ban’s sharp words for the president come just days after a damning report from the UN detailed how grim the situation really is. The world’s top climate scientists have warned that the world only has about 12 years left to address the issue, according to reporting from the Guardian, before we are unable to stave off a maximum 1.5 degrees Celsius rise in temperatures.