Date of Graduation

Spring 5-18-2024

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Management (MSEM)


College of Arts and Sciences


Environmental Management

First Advisor

Stephanie Siehr


Least-developed countries experienced 69% of deaths from climate disasters over the past 50 years despite comprising only 13% of the world’s population. Low-income and climate vulnerable nations around the world are suffering disproportionately as wealthy, high-emitting countries, such as the U.S., profit from the climate crisis. This research provides a comprehensive overview of past U.S. contributions to international climate finance efforts, assesses the climate finance deficit globally and specifically for developing countries, and proposes a more equitable share of U.S. funding from a quantitative and restorative climate justice approach. The primary analyses included quantifying the U.S. share of global greenhouse gas emissions (approximately 22% cumulatively), quantifying the U.S. share of the global economy (approximately 25%), and calculating an equitable percentage of U.S. international climate finance based on these and other socioeconomic factors. Additionally, developing country’s climate finance needs were evaluated through an extensive review of past research. The main findings of this study are that U.S. climate finance contributions are negligible compared to current global needs, with an estimated deficit of $2.7 trillion annually for developing countries alone; the equitable share of U.S. climate finance for developing countries was calculated as $350 billion annually, which represents a sixty-fold increase over the currently budgeted amount. To bridge this funding gap and improve the efficacy of funds provided, the main recommendations are to lower fossil fuel subsidies, put a price on carbon, eliminate non-concessional loans to least developed countries, and immediately provide funding to developing countries for losses and damages incurred due to extreme weather and slow onset changes attributable to climate change.