Climate-related appropriations grew from $315 million in fiscal 2009 to $1.3 billion in fiscal 2010.
CLIMATE: GOP senators decry ‘bailout’ for developing countries
Gabriel Nelson, E&E reporter
Top-ranking Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee have asked Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to freeze all future requests for climate-related spending, saying that it is inappropriate to transfer money to developing nations while the U.S. economy is struggling.
The letter — signed by Sens. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, David Vitter of Louisiana, George Voinovich of Ohio and John Barrasso of Wyoming — warns U.S. negotiators not to give away too much during the U.N. climate conference that is under way in Cancun, Mexico.
“We simply cannot afford any massive spending programs with such debt owed by America’s future generations,” it says.
Climate-related appropriations grew from $315 million in fiscal 2009 to $1.3 billion in fiscal 2010. The Obama administration requested $1.9 billion for fiscal 2011 so it could pay its share of an international fund for adaptation to climate change, which would total $100 billion through 2020.
The adaptation fund was part of the Copenhagen Accord, an agreement that emerged from last year’s talks in Denmark. Negotiators were trying to pin down more of the details in Cancun, but the biggest development so far has been Japan’s insistence that it won’t work to extend the Kyoto Protocol when the agreement — which provides the basis for the climate talks — expires in 2012 (ClimateWire, Dec. 2).
Barrasso, the top Republican on the Senate panel’s oversight subcommittee, compared the agreements to the government-funded rescue of the financial system.
“It makes no sense for the United States to now spend billions of taxpayer dollars to fight climate change in other countries,” Barrasso said in a statement. “Americans are concerned about jobs, the economy, the debt and spending. If the administration is serious about listening to the American people, they will cancel this international climate change bailout.”
Full Text of the letter:
December 2, 2010
The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Secretary Clinton:
As the sixteenth Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is set to enter its second week, we remain opposed to the U.S. commitment to full implementation of the Copenhagen Accord, which will transfer billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to developing nations in the name of climate change.
We understand that climate-related appropriations for 2010 totaled $1.3 billion, which is more than triple from 2009 levels at $315 million. The President also requested another sizeable increase of $1.9 billion for Fiscal Year 2011, as the Administration seeks to fund its share of this $100 billion global commitment by 2020. We do not believe that billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars should be transferred to developing countries through unaccountable multilateral or bilateral channels for adaptation, deforestation and other international climate finance programs.
In the November 2nd election, Americans clearly expressed their concerns about record deficit spending. The U.S. Treasury Department’s Fiscal Year 2010 year-end report showed that the federal deficit hit $1.29 trillion, topping $1 trillion for the second straight year in a row. These deficits are in addition to our existing debt, which is currently at $13.6 trillion. We simply cannot afford any new massive spending programs with such debt owed by America’s future generations.
Concern about deficits and spending stems in large part from the fact that millions of Americans are struggling to find employment. In October, the unemployment rate in the United States stood at 9.6 percent. As spending dramatically increases, Americans believe there is a connection between Washington profligacy and the ability of employers to create jobs.
In addition, several of the findings of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concerning the eventual impacts of climate change in developing countries were found to be exaggerated or simply not true. We understand that reforms of the IPCC process are currently underway and we believe that no American taxpayer dollars should be committed to a global climate fund based on information that is not accurate.
In light of the federal government’s dire financial situation and the poor state of the economy, in addition to ongoing reviews at the IPCC, we request that the Administration freeze further spending requests to implement international climate change finance programs. This would include making no additional international commitments to fund such programs.