White House launches ‘climate gender equity fund’
US President Joe Biden has announced the launch of a Climate Gender Equity Fund to promote female “climate leaders.” He unveiled the new initiative at the United Nations COP 27 conference on Friday.
A partnership between online retail company Amazon and government agency USAID, the fund will “leverage private sector contributions to provide women climate leaders with technical skills, networks and capital to develop and scale climate solutions,” the White House noted in a statement.
To help solve climate change, according to Amazon worldwide sustainability vice president Kara Hurst, “we must address the gender inequalities that persist in climate finance, and ensure female entrepreneurs have an equal seat at the table and access to the funding, networks and technical support they need to scale climate solutions.”
Outlining the gravity of gender inequity in the climate space, Amazon revealed that “female-founded companies typically receive a fraction of total venture capital, and that percentage fell during the pandemic.” The online shopping giant, which saw its profits skyrocket during the pandemic, promised to supply an additional $50 million from its Climate Pledge Fund for investments in women-founded and -led climate technology firms. Apart from that, it is contributing $3 million toward the Climate Gender Equity Fund’s initial seed funding.
The fund launches with $6 million in total, with USAID matching Amazon’s $3 million contribution. The White House announcement states that the fund was also “enabled” by a $21 million appropriation by USAID from the Biden administration’s Gender Equity and Equality Action Fund with the aim of underscoring its “commitment to gender-responsive climate action.” The latter program, established last year with $100 million in taxpayer funds, an amount set to double for this year, is supposed to “advance economic security for women and girls globally.”
A $430 billion spending package Biden signed in August included $386 billion in green energy subsidies and tax credits. The president’s speech at COP27 committed to several more ambitious green initiatives, including “establishing an international Climate Hub for climate-smart agriculture,” tightening emissions standards on the oil and natural gas industry, and using Ukraine as a showcase for small modular reactor (SMR) “advanced nuclear” technology.