President Obama may be prepared to shut down the entire U.S. government unless the Congress appropriates funds for the UN’s “Green Climate Fund.”
The fund was established as a mechanism for the transfer of funds from prosperous nations to “developing” nations. Despite many pledges, it has yet to receive large-scale funding. The managers of the fund recently reported that they have $5.83 billion on hand rather than the $10 billion which had been pledged.
The most current draft of the UN climate pact calls for the fund to receive $100 billion per year by 2020, and for it to be “scaled up” from there. This would be great news for carbon profiteers. We expect a substantial portion would “fall off the table” which would be great news as well for corrupt dictators and their tax-haven bankers.
Paul Bodnar is the National Security Council’s “senior energy and climate change director.” He told the press during a telephone briefing that transferring an inititial payment of $3 billlion to the UN fund is a “priority” for President Obama. He would not rule out a veto of the entire U.S. Budget if the President does not get it.
Not long ago President Obama called the possibility of a government shutdown over funding for Planned Parenthood “ridiculous.” Will it also be ridiculous if the President shuts down the government over the UN’s Green Climate Fund?
The UN’s most significant climate summit in years convenes in Paris on Monday with the aim of obtaining an international climate agreement to replace the Kyoto Prototocol.
The U.S. is not a signatory to Kyoto. The UN wants to bring the U.S. into a new climate pact now, before President Obama leaves office.
There are significant divides, particularly between “developed” and developing nations. “Climate finance” is a major one.
A few year’s back CFACT’s delegation to a UN summit in Bonn met with the representative of the island nation of Tonga. “Ah, you are Americans!” He said, “When are you going to send us the money?”
That sums up the attitude of the representatives of many developing nations. They see no reason to agree to anything in Paris unless they receive a major payout. They want U.S. taxpayers to foot a major portion of the bill.
That’s where they run into a little problem called the U.S. Constitution.
Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry hope to convince the UN summit to adopt a non-binding agreement rather than a binding treaty. They are well aware that they are unable to muster the two thirds majority of the Senate it would take to ratify a treaty. If funding the UN’s Green Climate Fund remains optional, U.S. funding remains contingent on a congressional appropriation.
Secretary Kerry said that the Administration is “struggling to find $3 billion for the green climate fund” at a speech at Old Dominion University. He recently seemed to leave open the possibility that the Administration would divert funds from other line items to the UN fund. This would run contrary to the principle that all U.S. spending must originate in the House of Representatives. Current House spending bills contain no appropriation for the fund and 37 Senators and 110 members of the House signed letters opposing contributions to the fund.
In addition, if climate funding is not made part of a binding treaty, future U.S. Administrations will be free to cut off the funds at any time.
UN climate Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres told the NY Times that finance is “the most challenging aspect of the whole deal… There is no credible road map to the $100 billion.”
Wealthier nations would like the flexibility to raise climate funds from a variety of sources including private business. The developing nations are adamant that funding should come exclusively from government funds.
President Obama is flying to Paris Sunday hoping that in three days he can convince other nations to give him a climate agreement he can sign without Senate ratification. Other heads of state and UN delegates need to know that Obama’s legal basis for bypassing the Senate and going it alone on climate is dubious, and that there is insufficient support for ongoing funding of the UN’s Green Climate Fund in Congress.
Representatives of nations wondering, like Tonga, when the U.S. is “going to send us the money?” had best brace themselves for a financial disappointment.