Massachusetts UN Least Developed Countries Fund

Benito Müller

For some time now, Oxford Climate Policy has worked closely with a number of North American partners to promote the idea of sub-national contributions to multilateral climate funds (see Finance for the Paris Climate Compact: The role of earmarked (sub-) national contributions).

The idea had a first breakthrough in Paris, at COP 21 in 2015, when the Province of Quebec announced a CA$ 6 million contribution to the UNFCCC Least Developed Countries Fund. This was followed by announcements from the Belgian regional governments and the City of Paris (In Paris it became ‘chic’ for sub-nationals to provide multilateral support for climate change finance. Now it must become ‘de rigueur’!).

It is highly unlikely that the present US administration will contribute to (UN) climate funds (Hope for the best, prepare for the worst! What next with American climate finance?). The only solution is to “Think Local, Act Global!

We are therefore extremely pleased to be able to announce another breakthrough, this time in the US, facilitated by our partners at the Institute for Sustainable Energy  of Boston University. On 27 March, State Senator Michael Barrett filed An Act enabling taxpayer donations to the Least Developed Countries Fund, an initiative of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change in the Massachusetts Senate.

Quite a number of US states, including Massachusetts, allow tax payers to earmark (“check-off”) a share of their tax refund on their personal income tax form as a contribution to certain state programmes. The Act introduced by Senator Barrett proposes a Massachusetts UN Least Developed Countries Fund, replenished through such a tax refund check-off programme and any other public and private sector contributions for the benefit of the UNFCCC Least Developed Countries Fund. (Fact sheet)

We hope that other sub-national authorities, particularly in the US, will follow suit in thinking local but acting global to enable the poorest and most vulnerable allies to combat climate change while reducing poverty.