Obama Requests $770 Million to Fight Global Warming Overseas

Matt Cover | March 26, 2012 | 4:49pm EDT
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Glaciers and icebergs in Greenland, as seen in August 2005. (AP File Photo/John McConnico)

(CNSNews.com) The Obama administration has requested $770 million in federal funds to combat the effects of global warming in developing countries, a new congressional report details, continuing its policy of using foreign aid to combat the effects of global warming in the developing world.

The figure, from a recent report from the Congressional Research Service (CRS), shows that despite another year of $1 trillion deficits, the Obama administration continues to pursue its policy of using foreign aid funds for anti-global warming measures – known as the Global Climate Change Initiative (GCCI).

According to CRS, the government has spent a total of $2.5 billion on GCCI since 2010 on overseas anti-global warming efforts in Latin America, Asia, and Africa.

For 2013, the Obama administration has requested an additional $770 million for its policy, a figure that if approved by Congress would bring total foreign climate change spending to $3.3 billion.

The administration uses the money to fund three types of anti-global warming foreign aid: adaptation, clean energy, and sustainable landscapes.

Adaptation, according to CRS, seeks to help developing countries insulate themselves from the effects of climate change by giving farmers and government planners access to better climate data. It also aims to aid countries by teaching them new agricultural and land use methods, as well as methods to protect against the rising sea levels, floods, and increased droughts said to be the result of global warming.

Clean energy funding seeks to aid poor countries in developing their own clean energy infrastructures in order to offset the fact that developing countries are the single fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions. The federal spending supports the creation of so-called green jobs in the developing world as well as the creation of clean energy projects.

Sustainable landscape projects seek to stop developing countries from cutting down forests, particularly in tropical areas, for farming or logging – or at least teach them to develop more modern logging and farming techniques, laws, and regulations.

CRS pointed out that Congress should consider several issues as it weighs the administration’s fiscal year 2013 GCCI budget request – including whether the funding was fiscally responsible.

“Budget constraints may lead to questions about sustaining high levels of support for international development assistance in general, and international climate change assistance in particular,” CRS noted.

“The burden is exacerbated during times of economic downturn, when the federal government is hard-pressed to generate fiscal resources to adequately address domestic challenges and maintain basic levels of public services and quality of life,” CRS added.

They also noted that – like most foreign aid programs – there was a high probability that foreign countries would misuse or waste GCCI funds.

“National and international institutions that dispense financial assistance have sometimes been criticized for inefficient and bloated bureaucracies, their lack of transparency about project procurement practices and operating costs, and the proportion of their funds misused or lost through instances of graft, corruption, and other political inefficiencies,” CRS said.

Finally, CRS noted that foreign economic aid programs like GCCI have a mixed record of results and that Congress may want to consider the fact that there is a lack of consensus on whether global warming will happen at all.

“Current uncertainties and ambiguities regarding the fields of atmospheric chemistry and climatology have been offered by some as reasons to postpone and/or reconsider international climate change assistance policies and programs,” CRS added.

However, CRS also noted that the typical benefits of foreign aid applied to GCCI programs as well, including preserving the United States’ leadership role in the world, the national security benefits of keeping countries stable, and the benefits to U.S. corporations of trade with developing countries.

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