Obama pays $500M to UN climate change fund

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The Obama administration has made the first of its promised payments to the United Nations’ controversial climate change fund.

A State Department official said that the United States made the $500 million payment on Monday to the South Korea-based Green Climate Fund.

It's the first of a series of payments President Obama has pledged.

“With this announcement, which comes less than three months after the historic Paris climate agreement, the United States continues to demonstrate leadership in the international climate arena,” the State official said. “This grant is the first step toward meeting the president’s commitment of $3 billion to the GCF and shows that the United States stands squarely behind our international climate commitments.”

Republicans have fought to stop any U.S. payments to the fund, which helps poor countries cut greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change effects like rising sea levels.

The GOP has repeatedly pledged to block any funds and had hoped that this might derail last year's international climate change deal in Paris.

Last year’s omnibus spending bill from Congress did not appropriate any money for the Green Climate Fund, but it also did not specifically prohibit State from using any of its other money for the fund.

The Green Climate Fund is the principal part of a U.N. goal to raise $100 billion for climate funding from private and government sources to help countries cut greenhouse gases and adapt to climate change effects.