Article by: Elizabeth Perle
President Trump released a draft budget Thursday threatening international climate action, withdrawing U.S. support for the United Nations’ Green Climate Fund and slashing the State Department and USAID budget up to $26 billion next year.
The proposal would put an end to foreign climate aid programs, cutting research investments as well as climate and sustainable energy development spending abroad. United Nations funding helps less developed countries combat climate change and establish clean energy solutions. It would also sharply reduce funding for the World Bank and other development programs.
The United States committed $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund under the Obama administration and has paid $1 billion to date. The fund was established in 2005 by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in order to finance climate projects in developing countries.
The Environmental Protection Agency also expects a 31 percent cut to funding. The proposed budget would stop funds for the Clean Power Plan, designed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions for U.S. power plants. Other cuts will effect the development and research of renewable energy and international climate change programs run by the EPA.
The proposal would also halve the EPA’s Office of Research and Development budget, and scrap the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, a program designed to fund innovative technologies such as biofuels and clean cars. The budget request argues ‘the private sector is better positioned to finance disruptive energy research and development and to commercialize innovative technologies.’
President Trump has not yet confirmed whether the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. Scientists and climate policy advocates are deeply worried by the administration’s actions against combating climate change.
“The message they are sending to the rest of the world is that they don’t believe climate change is serious. It’s shocking to see such a degree of ignorance from the United States,” said Mario J. Molina, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist from Mexico who advises nations on climate change policy.