In Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) reintroduced this bill from the 114th and 115th Congresses to prohibit any U.S. contributions to fund the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the Green Climate Fund (GCF):
“A nice name doesn’t camouflage the fact that these entities are fraught with waste and fraud, and engaged in dubious science. My bill will stop this egregious abuse of taxpayer dollars and prevent American taxpayers from footing the bill for these programs.”
When he introduced this bill in the 114th Congress in response to President
Obama's $3 billion dollar pledge to the UN's Green Climate Fund, Rep. Luetkemeyer argued this bill was needed to bar the use of taxpayer dollars for "the U.N.’s global warming schemes":
far too long, American tax dollars have been sent to the United Nations
to produce controversial science and feel-good conferences. Now the
president is pledging to pony up billions more to implement these
ill-gotten policies. American taxpayers should not foot the bill for an
unelected organization that is fraught with waste.”
In 2017, Marlo Lewis Jr., a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, argued that the GCF should never have been funded because the U.S. Framework Convention on Climate Change, which established the GCF, accepted the "State of Palestine" as a signatory to the treaty. U.S. law forbids any taxpayer dollars being sent to international organizations that recognize Palestine as a sovereign state — therefore, Lewis argues:
"[D]efunding the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change is something current law actually requires because the U.N. framework convention is not just a treaty but the organization that administers that treaty, and under U.S. law, any U.N. agency that recognizes Palestine as a state or grants statehood status to any non-state actor is barred from receiving any money from federal agencies. The United States did this with [the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization], for example, when [UNESCO] admitted the Palestinian Authority as a state, and so the United States no longer makes contributions to UNESCO. This law is not in any way referenced in this bill, and since the bill doesn’t really explain its rationale, it’s hard to know whether that entered into [Luetkemeyer’s] thinking at all.”
The World Resources Institute's Joe Thwaites argues that U.S. support of international climate finance is necessary. He argues:
"International climate finance brings clear benefits, not just by helping recipient countries pursue sustainable development, but also closer to home, by boosting demand for U.S. clean tech exports and expertise and addressing root causes of national security threats."
This bill doesn't have any cosponsors in the 116th Congress. In the 115th Congress, it had 16 Republican cosponsors and didn't receive a committee vote. When it was first introduced in the 114th Congress, it had 19 Republican cosponsors and also didn't receive a committee vote.
Of Note: The Green Climate Fund (GCF) was established with the aim of channeling funds to aid developing countries in implementing greener climate policies. The money raised will go towards helping developing countries curb their carbon emissions and develop better infrastructure to deal with the effects of climate change.
The U.S. is already behind in its contributions to the GCF. President Obama pledged $3 billion to the fund in 2014 but was only able to deliver $1 billion before leaving office. Trump has opposed further funding, and the 2019 fiscal year budget doesn't have any funding for the GCF. Likewise, the FY 2019 budget also doesn't have dedicated money for the IPCC and UNFCCC — instead, there's a $10 million budget line for a variety of UN Environmental Programs, from which the UNFCCC and IPCC will likely receive some funding.
Other major contributors to the fund include Japan, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Canada, Australia, Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, Switzerland, Finland, Denmark, and Belgium.
Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user John Gillespie)