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House Republicans target international climate funding

capitol.generic.bmp Republican appropriators pushed legislation through a US House subcommittee on Wednesday that would eliminate funding for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change while scaling back money for various international climate programmes.

The quiet attack, detailed here by the Natural Resources Defense Council, was slipped into a larger bill that funds foreign operations at the State Department in fiscal year 2012 (AP). It would bar funds from being spent on not only the IPCC but also the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the umbrella treaty under which all climate activities take place and to which the United States is a signatory. It would also scale back or eliminate funding for various programmes that would among other things promote clean energy, stem deforestation and help poor countries prepare for a warmer climate.

Although official statements focused on bigger picture issues of security and international relations, Republicans said they are evaluating any and all international aid and cutting funding for “ineffective and unproven programmes.” The bill now heads to the full Appropriations Committee.

Republicans tried to do the same thing in the fiscal 2011 appropriations bill (coverage here and here), but the Obama administration was able to restore some of the cuts. Total funding for international climate issues is hard to measure because agencies like the State Department have some discretion in how they use certain funds, but cumulative climate funding ended up around $750 to $950 million in 2011, according to Jake Schmidt, who tracks climate issues for NRDC in Washington.

The current House legislation likely cuts that back to something like $500 million, Schmidt says. “Climate was in their sight-lines, and they went after it.”


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